Hitler’s Volunteer Executives

Hitler’s Willing Executioners ( 1996 ) a book writer is American Daniel Goldhagen proposed that ordinary Germans not only knew but also supported the Holocaust because of an ” anti – Semitism unique and virulent eliminationist” in German identity, which had Developed in previous centuries. Goldhagen states that this special mentality arose from medieval attitudes of a religious basis, but was eventually secularized .

This work aroused controversy and debate in Germany and the United States . Some historians have characterized its reception as an extension ofHistorikerstreit , the German historiographical debate of the 1980s that sought to explain Nazi history . The book became a “publishing phenomenon” 1 and achieved fame both in the States and in Germany, despite its biting reception among historians, 2 who condemned it as ahistorical and, in the words of Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg , “totally Wrong about everything “and” worthless. ” 3 4

The book, which began as a Harvard doctoral thesis , was written largely in response to a publication by Christopher Browning . In 1994 , he won the Gabriel A. Almond Award in Comparative Politics by the American Political Science Association and the Democracy Award of the Journal for German and International Politics . This magazine argued that the debate promoted by Goldhagen’s book helped to perfect the public’s understanding of the past during a period of radical change in Germany. 5


  1. Back to top↑ Crawshaw, Steve (2004). Easier fatherland . Continuum International Publishing Group. Pp. 136-7. ISBN  9780826463203 .
  2. Back to top↑ Shatz, Adam. (April 8, 1998) Goldhagen’s willing executioners: the attack on a scholarly superstar, and how he fights back Slate . Accessed January 4, 2008.
  3. Back to top↑ Hilberg
  4. Back to top↑ Kwiet
  5. Back to top↑ Harvard Gazette