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View Diary: Fascist wingnut tries to defend himself (updated) (352 comments)

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  •  ...and furthermore... (14+ / 0-)

    ...if I remember the details from Hitler's Willing Executioners  (a good read for those concerned about ordinary people becoming cogs in a massive death machine) a lot of those Jews killed in Eastern Europe by the Einsatzgruppen were killed "in situ."  The Einsatzgruppen (units who didn't engage in combat, but controlled occupied populations and carried out massacres of undesirables) would go into a town, round up all the Jews, and shoot each one in the head.  Millions died this way, not requiring transportation.

    I almost hesistate to bring it up in case Captain Skinhead is reading his critics.  He seems to get inspiration from some of the strangest places.

    •  Should we tell him what color Jesus was? nt (10+ / 0-)

      "How's the New American Century? Looks good to me."

      by otto on Wed May 17, 2006 at 07:59:56 AM PDT

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    •  Yes, but the Nazis eventually found (10+ / 0-)

      that the Einsatzgruppen weren't "optimal" for a couple of reasons. One was that even the most robotic order-follower had enough shreds of humanity that they were eventually broken down by the sheer horror of it all. The other was that it was apparently not cost-effective enough; industrial gas chambers were cheaper.


    •  Correct (11+ / 0-)

      But please don't cite that book. Goldhagen has zero credibility among historians. Chris Browning's Ordinary Men: Reserve Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (New York: HarperCollins, 1998) is a much better book--all the facts, none of the hyperbole or the questionable scholarship.

      The Einsatzgruppen were effectively roving execution squads. They probably knocked off at least a million people (not all of them Jews, however; they were also responsible for hunting down priests, the intelligentsia, and Soviet officials under Hitler's notorious Kommissarbefehl) across eastern Europe and western Russia.

      •  footnote-y Goldhagen question (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musing85, davidincleveland

        I have read before that Goldhagen has credibility problems, but I never found out what they were.  Could you tell me, or is it too long for comments?  Thanks.

        •  The full story (4+ / 0-)

          is way too long for comments. The Readers' Digest Condensed Version (TM) is that Goldhagen tries to make too much stew from one oyster. His evidence doesn't adequately support his claim of global commitment to, and active participation in, the Nazi excesses. His basic thesis is not entirely without merit--ordinary Germans were not nearly as in the dark or as free of moral or even legal responsibility as they liked to make themselves out to be in the late 1940s and afterward. But to assert, on the basis of the evidence that Goldhagen does provide, that all Germans are culpable for the actions of the Nazis is unjustifiable.

          There's also the fact that Goldhagen's thesis essentially depends on what historians have called the Sonderweg hypothesis. This idea, prominent in the war years and immediately afterward and since discredited, posits that there was something special (Sonder, in German) in the German character that made them ideal for the development of Nazism, or, in some of the more radical theorists--and I would have to put Goldhagen into that category based on this book--that Nazism was an inevitable outcome of something warped in the German national psyche.

          If you want to wade further into the question, here are a few of the academic reviews of Goldhagen's book:

          I can also wholeheartedly recommend the afterword in Christopher Browning's book that I mentioned in the parent comment. He gives a thorough explanation of just how Goldhagen failed to prove his thesis.

    •  I went to Chernobyl a few years ago (4+ / 0-)

      and one of the things that struck me about the town of Chernobyl (as opposed to Pripyat', where you see all of those eerie pictures of an abandonded city) is that before the war, it was a Jewish majority town.  According to the guide, when the Nazi's came through in 1941, the unit that took the town was desperately short of ammo.  So when the special groups came to town to "mop up", they found that the Army couldn't just round people up and shoot them.  So, the Army forced the town at gunpoint to dig a giant pit and, this is hard to believe, but, they forced the Gentiles to force the Jews into the pit and bury them alive.  The Army then stood guard over the pit to deal with anyone who dug themselves out.  What a sad little town...

      "My cat's breath smells like cat food." Ralph Wiggum

      by calipygian on Wed May 17, 2006 at 09:26:32 AM PDT

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