Ordinary Men or Willing Executioners: Understanding the Minds of Hitler’s Schutzstaffel Troops in Eastern Europe during the Holocaust.

Lee, H. (2022) Ordinary Men or Willing Executioners: Understanding the Minds of Hitler’s Schutzstaffel Troops in Eastern Europe during the Holocaust. Undergraduate thesis, University of Chichester.

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Abstract

historiographical debate, ignited in the 1990s, regarding German perpetrator motives for the Holocaust (1941-1945) emerged after the publication of historian Christopher Browning’s book Ordinary Men in 1992. Browning’s work was so distinct in the field of Third Reich historiography because it began to delve into the psychohistory, raising fundamental questions regarding human psychology and human capability. Additionally, Browning successfully provided a human lens to individuals deemed in the previous historiography as brutal, inhuman monsters. On the contrary, Browning established that these men were, in fact, ordinary, middle-aged men, largely from the Hamburg region of Germany, with regular civilian jobs.
Subsequent studies, notably historian Edward Westermann’s comparative study of Police Battalion 310 and Browning’s Reserve Police Battalion 101 and historian Daniel Goldhagen’s study of Reserve Police Battalion 101 in Hitler’s Willing Executioners, have been in the foreground of this historiographical debate, along with Browning’s Ordinary Men. These studies have been hugely significant in raising the questions regarding what factors in particular were of most significance in motivating the ordinary men who composed the Nazi killing units.
This study will establish the distinctive elements of the Ordinary Men, exploring their credibility and, ultimately, their significance in the wider historiographical debate.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Additional Information: A dissertation submitted in part fulfilment of the BA (Hons) Modern History
Uncontrolled Keywords: Schutzstaffel, Holocaust, Hitler, Second World War
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D731 World War II
D History General and Old World > DD Germany
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Arts and Humanities > History
Student Research > Undergraduate
Depositing User: Gail Graffham
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2022 11:48
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2022 11:48
URI: https://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/6621

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