Summary Of The Holocaust By James Waller And Daniel Goldhagen

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It’s not a question that many historians try and explain the motives behind perpetrator actions in violent events. History has recurred throughout time, especially in the 20th c. when it comes to genocide, where massive groups are involved in mobilizing the same type of destruction. Why then, is it so easy for many ordinary people to commit such horrible violence? This is the question that both James Waller and Daniel Goldhagen try to answer in their books about the perpetrators in the Holocaust. Waller provides a general model, which can be applied to genocide and mass killing events, that explains the sequence of events which lead an ordinary person to perpetrate evil. Goldhagen, analyzes the history of anti-Semitism in Germany and Europe, …show more content…

Waller seems to disagree with this strong claim that Goldhagen suggests for a variety of reasons. The first problem, Waller states, is that eliminationist antisemitism was not as strong in Germany, prior to Nazi rise, as Goldhagen gives them credit for. While Waller acknowledges these ideals profusely permeated German culture, he disagrees that it was the attitude of the entirety of Germany. He proves this with supporting opinions from other historians as well and looks into the Nazi’s rise in power. The Nazi’s originally were only supported by 37% of the population, and their anti-Semitism, originally, was not a heavy part of their political platform that eventually won them their popularity. Waller also points out that many of the killers weren’t Germans, nor were all the victims Jewish, so the perpetration cannot strictly be blamed on German culture and people. Waller believes that his model of human evil encompasses many of Goldhagen’s points, but with a broader and more accepting platform. He thinks his approach is more logical because its framework is more encompassing in explaining the reasoning behind what led the Germany culture, but specifically the German people, to become so anti-Semitist and bent on the elimination of the Jews. While Goldhagen makes a very bold and unique claim, Waller suggests another approach that encompasses a degree of Goldhagen’s blame on German culture, while providing other blame on human

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