Christopher Browning's Ordinary Men

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How does an ordinary group of people turn into bloodless killers? The author of Ordinary Men, Christopher Browning offers the most captivating argument towards how it is possible for ordinary men to commit extraordinary atrocities. This paper will analyze the different viewpoints of what caused ordinary men to commit murder.
To better understand this issue one must understand the sides of argument. Some believe that the Nazi’s are not fully to blame for the atrocities and that periodization better explains why the Holocaust was able to happen. The other side argues that the Nazi’s were needed as a cataclysm to give the orders so that those with Anti-Jewish sentiments could act on those feelings of dissent towards the Jews. One must comprehend the historical context of Europe to recognize the issue. It is true that Europe has a long history of resentment towards Jews, but it is also true Europeans themselves never committed to the
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Goldhagen believes in sole-responsibility for The Holocaust. This trend of hatred from the Jews is historic, but also that these men had a choice, and they were willing. Goldhagen writes about Major Wilhelm Trapp, a fifty-three year old WW1 veteran. Trapp was unwilling to kill Jews because he served with them and he couldn’t bring himself to killing. After the killing of one of his own, "Trapp moved to tears by the killing of Poles, turned around and initiated the killing of Jews." These targeted Jews had no relationship to the attack on Third Company and the death of a sergeant. Goldhagen goes on to argue "The men's zealous and dedicated slaughtering of Jews stands in sharp relief. The killing of Poles was a regrettable necessity." Goldhagen’s convincing and eloquent words provide a clear picture to the Battalion’s actions. Goldhagen paints the picture that everyone wanted to kill Jews after the soldiers were
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