9781250062642

Why the Germans? Why the Jews? Envy, Race Hatred, and the Prehistory of the Holocaust

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781250062642

  • ISBN10:

    1250062640

  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 4/7/2015
  • Publisher: Picador

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Summary

A provocative and insightful analysis that sheds new light on one of the most puzzling and historically unsettling conundrums

Why did the Holocaust happen in Germany, of all places? How did a country known for its culture and refinement turn so rabidly anti-Semitic? Why did a nation where Jews had full civil rights and many opportunities—a place that Jews had eagerly flocked to in the early twentieth century to escape racist persecution in Poland and Russia—turn upon them so violently just a few decades later? Countless people have grappled with these questions, but few have come up with answers as original and perceptive as those of German historian Götz Aly. Tracing the prehistory of the Holocaust—from the 1800s to the Nazis' assumption of power in 1933—Aly shows that German anti-Semitism did not originate with racist ideology or religious animosity, as is often supposed. Instead, through striking statistics and economic analysis, he demonstrates that it was rooted in a more basic emotion: material envy.
Aly's groundbreaking account of this fatal social dynamic opens up a new vantage point on the greatest crime in history and is sure to prompt heated debate for years to come.

Author Biography

Götz Aly is the author of Hitler’s Beneficiaries and Into the Tunnel, among other books. One of the most respected historians of the Third Reich and the Holocaust, he has received the National Jewish Book Award, Germany’s prestigious Heinrich Mann Prize, and numerous other honors. He is currently the Sir Peter Ustinov guest professor at the University of Vienna.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments and Translator’s Note          ix
Introduction: The Question of Questions          1
1. Jewish Emancipation          13

2. The Anxiety of German Nationalism          42

3. Anti-Semitism as a Political Force          65

4. The Mainstream’s Dangerous Indifference          86

5. War, Defeat, and Jew Hatred          99

6. Weak Masses, Strong Race          127

7. The National Socialist People’s Party          181

Epilogue: A Story with No End          219
Notes          235

Bibliography          253

Index          277

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