Ordinary Men is the true story of Reserve Police Battalion 101 of the German Order Police, which was responsible for mass shootings as well as round-ups of Jewish people for deportation to Nazi death camps in Poland in 1942. Browning argues that most of the men of RPB 101 were not fanatical Nazis but, rather, ordinary middle-aged, working-class men who committed these atrocities out of a mixture of motives, including the group dynamics of conformity, deference to authority, role adaptation, and the altering of moral norms to justify their actions. Very quickly three groups emerged within the battalion: a core of eager killers, a plurality who carried out their duties reliably but without initiative, and a small minority who evaded participation in the acts of killing without diminishing the murderous efficiency of the battalion whatsoever.
While this book discusses a specific Reserve Unit during WWII, the general argument Browning makes is that most people succumb to the pressures of a group setting and commit actions they would never do of their own volition.
Ordinary Men is a powerful, chilling, and important work with themes and arguments that continue to resonate today.
“A remarkable—and singularly chilling—glimpse of human behavior...This meticulously researched book...represents a major contribution to the literature of the Holocaust."—Newsweek
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Having suffered during World War One – not only the indignities of political betrayal and battlefield defeat but also starvation, fuel shortages and a domestic flu epidemic – the German people were left in widespread discontent. Soon inflation and economic stagnation had further sunk the nation into exhaustion, humiliation and disillusionment.
Capitalizing on the nation’s instability, the Nazi Party, led by the embittered former soldier Adolf Hitler, achieved an improbable political dominance. Nazi Germany: History in an Hour explains how the elimination of political rivals and the Weimar constitution created a Nazi controlled Germany. Under violent state control and propaganda, life was altered across society, for women, for the family and, most significantly, for the Jews. As Hitler manipulated foreign policy to impose his ideology, Nazi Germany brought the world into war.
Love history? Know your stuff with History in an Hour...
What made a failed Austrian artist into the most reviled and destructive personality of the twentieth century? Where did the seeds of his rabid anti-Semitism lie? How did a marginalized loner become such a moving force in Germany? How could a nation have fallen for such a fanatic? What made him so determined to bring about war?
Through manipulation of politicians and civilians, bullying, diplomacy, violence and lies, Hitler achieved a total and unlikely power. Covering his early life, military service in World War One and eventual rise to power, first as the leader of the Nazi party, and then head of state, Hitler: History in an Hour describes the life of a man who spent his final days inside a bunker having plunged the world into a global conflict, the bloodiest in history.
Love history? Know your stuff with History in an Hour...
AnnaFunder delivers a prize-winning and powerfully rendered account of theresistance against East Germany’s communist dictatorship in these harrowing,personal tales of life behind the Iron Curtain—and, especially, of life underthe iron fist of the Stasi, East Germany’s brutal state security force. In thetradition of Frederick Taylor’s The Berlin Wall andPhilip Gourevitch’s WeWish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families, Funder’s Stasiland isa masterpiece of investigative reporting, written with novelistic vividness andthe compelling intensity of a universal, real-life story.
Countless books have been written about why Nazi Germany lost World War II, yet remarkably little attention has been paid to the equally vital question of how and why it was able to hold out as long as it did. The Third Reich did not surrender until Germany had been left in ruins and almost completely occupied. Even in the near-apocalyptic final months, when the war was plainly lost, the Nazis refused to sue for peace. Historically, this is extremely rare.
Drawing on original testimony from ordinary Germans and arch-Nazis alike, award-winning historian Ian Kershaw explores this fascinating question in a gripping and focused narrative that begins with the failed bomb plot in July 1944 and ends with the German capitulation in May 1945. Hitler, desperate to avoid a repeat of the "disgraceful" German surrender in 1918, was of course critical to the Third Reich's fanatical determination, but his power was sustained only because those below him were unable, or unwilling, to challenge it. Even as the military situation grew increasingly hopeless, Wehrmacht generals fought on, their orders largely obeyed, and the regime continued its ruthless persecution of Jews, prisoners, and foreign workers. Beneath the hail of allied bombing, German society maintained some semblance of normalcy in the very last months of the war. The Berlin Philharmonic even performed on April 12, 1945, less than three weeks before Hitler's suicide.
As Kershaw shows, the structure of Hitler's "charismatic rule" created a powerful negative bond between him and the Nazi leadership- they had no future without him, and so their fates were inextricably tied. Terror also helped the Third Reich maintain its grip on power as the regime began to wage war not only on its ideologically defined enemies but also on the German people themselves. Yet even as each month brought fresh horrors for civilians, popular support for the regime remained linked to a patriotic support of Germany and a terrible fear of the enemy closing in.
Based on prodigious new research, Kershaw's The End is a harrowing yet enthralling portrait of the Third Reich in its last desperate gasps.
A Woman in Berlin stands as "one of the essential books for understanding war and life" (A. S. Byatt, author of Possession).
Hailedby The Economist as “Britain’s finest military historian” forbestsellers such as Masters and Commanders and Waterloo, AndrewRoberts offers a magisterial new history of World War II and the Axis strategythat led the Germans and Japanese to their eventual defeat. Perfect for readershoping to gain new insight into WWII’s pivotal battles and campaigns, fromDunkirk to D-Day, The Storm of War is a powerful, penetrating, andcompulsively readable examination of the causes, currents, and consequences ofthe Second World War.
The Gestapo offers a detailed history of this evil operation – commanded for much of its life by the SS chief Heinrich Himmler – whose 20,000 members were responsible for the internal security of the Reich. Under its auspices, hundreds of thousands of civilians, resistance fighters and spies in occupied Europe were brutalized, tortured and murdered, and many, many more were deported to almost certain death in concentration camps. Based upon the Gestapo's own archives and eye-witness accounts, the author charts the development of the organization, its key figures, such as Reinhard Heydrich, its brutal methods, and how the Gestapo dealt with internal security, including the various unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Hitler.
The book is a lively and expert account of this notorious but little-understood secret police that terrorized hundreds of thousands of people across Europe. [This is a text-only ebook edition.]