Hist 257 - Why did the perpetrators do it

Hist 257 - Why did the perpetrators do it - Alex Ryng Hist...

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Alex Ryng Hist 257 – The Holocaust Professor Bennette 4/17/2008 Externally forced or internally propelled? Having carried out the mass murders of European Jewry, the German perpetrators endured, and still endure, a closely scrutinized analysis. Why did they do it? Is it sufficient to say that the murderers were simply victims of the Nazi ideology, following blindly the path set before them? External coercion and forced obedience offer one conventional idea as to why the Germans participated in the genocide. Equally well argued, one author writes that rather than hide behind a shroud of unnatural principles and forced ideas, it is possible that the German perpetrators approved of the genocide and their actions. In analyzing the question of “why they did it,” two primary sources contributed, albeit in a terribly conflicting manner, possible reasons and theories. Christopher Browning’s book, Ordinary Men, portrays the actions of the German perpetrators as being derived from an external force. He offers many socially and psychologically sound arguments for why the perpetrators acted as they did. In Hitler’s Willing Executioners, by Daniel Goldhagen, a well thought-out and carefully studied presentation of facts offers significant findings and interpretations of German soldiers’ behavior during and after the genocide. Interestingly, the selection of readings left little room for more than one “correct,” or more carefully worded, plausible, answer. Foremost, Browning introduces the idea that the perpetrators contributed to the genocide because of coercion. Defining the perpetrators as the group of men selected for
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service in the reserve police battalions, carrying out orders to clear out Jews in newly conquered territory by mass shooting or deportation, offers some insight into the composition of the recruits. By virtue of age, the men were not well adapted to the Nazi ideology. They encompassed political standards and moral norms that opposed those of
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Hist 257 - Why did the perpetrators do it - Alex Ryng Hist...

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