Ordinary Men b Christopher Browning Essay

Ordinary Men b Christopher Browning Essay

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In the book Ordinary Men, Christopher Browning tackles the question of why German citizens engaged in nefarious behavior that led to the deaths of millions of Jewish and other minorities throughout Europe. The question of what drove Germans to commit acts of genocide has been investigated by numerous historians, but unfortunately, no overarching answer for the crimes has yet been decided upon. However, certain theories are more popular than others. Daniel Goldhagen in his book, Hitler’s Willing Executioners, has expounded that the nature of the German culture before the Second World War was deeply embedded in anti-Semitic fervor, which in turn, acted as the catalyst for the events that would unfold into the Holocaust. It is at this juncture in the debate of why ordinary Germans committed the crimes they did, that Browning proposes his own theory on the matter. Browning differs in opinion than Goldhagen, in that he does not believe that the crimes rested solely on anti-Semitic fervor, rather the roots of the Holocaust can be found in: the importance of conformity in the Third Reich, peer-pressure, and the deference to authority which existed in the Nazi Germany.
Browning’s book focuses on the perpetrators of the massacre of 1,500 Jews that occurred at Jozefow in the summer of 1942. The crimes were done by the Order Police, which were large formations of police with training in military matters and military equipment. Military matters referred to combat training and also training on how to occupy a foreign country. Furthermore, Browning provides a brief summary of the history leading up to the massacre by presenting a background on who served in the Order Police and also how a police organization came to be responsible for mass...


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... and debasement as Auschwitz or Bergen-Belsen, the theories can relate to those places also. Therefore, I think Browning should elaborate even more with each theory in an updated edition so his idea is unique to solely this occurrence, and not every bad thing that happens in the world.
Browning’s theory that the importance of conformity in the Third Reich, peer-pressure, and deference to authority deserve credence because of how well he was able to convey his argument to the reader. Browning was able to give a deeper insight into the possible workings of the mind of a Nazi German citizen during the time of the Third Reich. It has been over 50 years since the fall of Nazi Germany, and I feel that this book will need to read by future generations because of the clearer understanding it gives on a 20th century nation that was taken to brink of insanity and beyond.

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