April 20th, 2010

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raul hilberg on german motivations - 1

German Motivations for the Destruction of the Jews

By RAUL HILBERG

DURING THE NAZI REGIME, one of the most drastic acts in history was fashioned by German hands.The Jews of Europe were annihilated. In conception and execution, it was a unique occurrence. When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, a modern bureaucracy set out for the first time to destroy an entire people. Step by step and blow by blow, more than five million Jews were driven to their deaths. Few operations could have been more efficient than this bewildering deed in the midst of a general war. Collapse )
    The German nation is a large and difficult area of study. Nevertheless, not a few researchers have already delved into that subject, some coming to the conclusion that the destruction process was the result of a fault in German society which threw it out of gear and caused it to run wild, others perceiving in the outbreak the presence of a special factor, peculiar to German history and thought, which propelled the perpetrator into unique and irrevocable paths. The first assume a malfunction; the second propose a fixation.

[See Part 2 here.] Collapse )
Midstream, Vol. XI, No. 2, June, 1965, pp. 23-30
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raul hilberg on german motivations - 2

German Motivations for the Destruction of the Jews

By RAUL HILBERG

[See Part 1 here.]

        MALFUNCTION
    Broadly speaking, three kinds of breakdown have been proposed in malfunction theory: an intellectual failure, a cultural disruption, and a psychic disturbance. Propagandistic fabrications, upsetting a rational order of thought, may lead to indoctrination; the floundering of a culture may result in regression; personality disorders, produced by a series of frustrations, may yield abnormal behavior with compulsive, paranoid, masochistic, or anxietal manifestations. Collapse )

    The destruction of the Jews was a tour de force. An alignment of all the motivation theories against the available facts yields that conclusion as a residue. We are thus left with a crude contour of the hypothetical German mind. It is the image of a German who walked with fleeting fantasms. Frustrations nurtured and reinforced them. In a technological bureaucracy he found an impersonal medium for their realization. Obscure memories of a medieval heritage shrouded him with protective symbols. Propaganda supplied him with rationalizations. Ambitions spurred him on. And below, a helpless victim, twitching in pain, was ready for the fatal blow.

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Midstream, Vol. XI, No. 2, June, 1965, pp. 30-40