Ordinary Men Paper

Ordinary Men Paper - Gurtler 1 Timothy Gurtler GT 901810562...

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Gurtler 1 Timothy Gurtler GT: 901810562 Professor Tone HTS-1031 December 3, 2007 Ordinary Men or Cold-blooded Killers? “At the lunch table some of the comrades made jokes about the experiences they’d had. […] I remember as especially crass that one of the men said now we eat ‘the brains of slaughtered Jews.” 1 Christopher Browning, in his book Ordinary Men , seeks to answer the question, “Could ordinary men become murders?” We are presented with the story of the Holocaust through the eyes of the men of Reserve Police Battalion 101. In exacting detail, Browning shows us that these men were ordinary working-to-middle class men that later became mass murders. This begs a question though: how did these men become mass murderers? Browning does an excellent job of explaining how racism and conformity during war were the leading causes of the Holocaust. I will show how he brings those two things together – thus, giving us a plausible explanation of the Holocaust. 38,000 Jews were killed and over 45,000 were sent to extermination camps by Reserve Police Battalion 101, a unit of less than 500 men (Browning 225-226). There was extreme elitism and racism working together to make this happen. The Germans thought of themselves as the master race and sought to cleanse anything that could muddy the proliferation of their race, namely the Jews. While we cannot be certain to the extent racism played in the average German’s thinking, we know how the authority 1 Christopher Browning, Ordinary Men , 1 st ed. (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998) 128.
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Gurtler 2 figures felt. “Hitler’s intention to murder the Jews of Europe,” was known as the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question in Europe” (Browning 49). Hitler chose likeminded people, like his brother Himmler, to lead the massacre of the Jews; subsequently, Himmler chose likeminded officers underneath him. This shows us that racism was fundamental to the chain of command in Germany.
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