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Outbreak of War in Poland and Germany Christopher Browning's Ordinary People by

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Ordinary Men Book Review
Due to the outbreak of war with Poland and the allies Germany was forced to create police divisions that would be responsible for overseeing German occupied territories in Europe. These police divisions called Order Police had been around since World War I as the German military was dissolved and extremely limited by the Treaty of Versailles the government created these police formations to resist revolutionary forces. (Browning, p.1) Although, once the Nazi’s gained power in 1933 Hitler denounced the Treaty of Versailles and began rearming Germany and as a result the Order Police would continue to grow in size astronomically years following. The Reserve Police Battalion 101 was a unit of conscripted men that were deemed too old for the army and lacked military experience. (Browning, p.1) As a result they formed a battalion of Order Police who were mostly middle and lower class men from Hamburg. (Browning, p.1) They’re intended mission was to gather POW’s, military equipment and guarding the prisoner of war camps. (Browning, p.38) They did so with great success and in December of 1939 they were relieved of their duty in Poland and sent back to Hamburg. When they returned some men were transferred to other units and replaced by reserves. (Browning, p.38) The battalion was mobilized once again in 1940 to return back to Poland after receiving further training. This time the battalion would begin to embark down a path of becoming mass murders. Due to the orders placed upon them the Reserve Police Battalion 101 was forced to participate in the mass murder of men, women and children throughout Poland. Although, Browning believes that if ordinary middle class men from Hamburg can partake in mass murder than anyo...


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...the Reserve Police Battalion 101 were acting on the orders of their superior commander because they didn’t have a choice. If the task on hand was not completed then they face the possibility of being killed themselves. They risk the possibility of being sent to a concentration or even worse to some the eastern front to fight the communists. History has shown in times of war people will take drastic measures to remain alive. Browning points out that not just the Nazi’s in history have committed crimes that both the Japanese, British, and Americans were involved in controversial incidents during World War II. (Browning, p.160) But, I believe that as the killings became an everyday occurrence policemen in the battalion became accustomed to it.
The holocaust is a very important event that occurred in history and one that humanity should never let be repeated again.



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