By Norman G. Finkelstein, Ruth Bettina Birn
No fresh paintings of historical past has generated as a lot curiosity as Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's prepared Executioners. Purporting to unravel the secret of the Nazi holocaust, Goldhagen keeps that normal Germans have been pushed via fanatical anti-Semitism to homicide the Jews. an instantaneous nationwide best-seller, the ebook went directly to create a global sensation.
Now, in A kingdom on Trial, prime critics problem Goldhagen's findings and convey that his paintings isn't scholarship in any respect. With compelling cumulative impact, Norman G. Finkelstein meticulously files Goldhagen's distortions of secondary literature and the interior contradictions of his argument. In a complementary essay, Ruth Bettina Birn juxtaposes Goldhagen's textual content opposed to the German documents he consulted. the most important overseas authority on those files, Birn conclusively demonstrates that Goldhagen systematically misrepresented their contents.
The definitive assertion at the Goldhagen phenomenon, this quantity is additionally a cautionary story at the corruption of scholarship by means of ideological zealotry.
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Extra resources for A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth
This merry band, in various mutations, could be seen afternoons or evenings in places like the elegant Café Heck adjoining the Royal Gardens on the Galerienstrasse; the old Café Neumaier in the central city (where Hitler had a regular Monday night table); and at the Osteria Bavaria, an Italian bistro that also served some Alpine dishes, just a couple blocks from the Völkischer Beobachter headquarters in the Schellingstrasse. One thing observers of the group always noted: Hitler did almost all the talking.
In their view, Hitler’s elaborate description of his politicization during his Vienna period was fabricated to fit the invented image of a naive young man reacting to real conditions, not the reality of an aimless war veteran looking for work as a politician. 22 But that gets ahead of the story. In May 1913, after five hard years in the Austrian capital and after receiving a small inheritance on his twenty-fourth birthday, Hitler left Vienna for Munich—the fulfillment of his dream to live in an all-German environment surrounded by monumental architecture and a spirit of artistic creativity.
Drexler invited Hitler to return. To another attendee, Drexler said: “That guy has a mouth on him! ” After Hitler’s confrontational evening at the Sterneckerbräu, events moved quickly. Unable to sleep early the next morning in his army barracks because of some noisy mice, Hitler had nothing better to do than to read Drexler’s little pamphlet. With its anti-Semitic denunciation of “destructive Jewish influence” on German life, its attacks on “Big Capital,” and its belief in closing the class divide between workers and the middle class, the short screed immediately resonated with Hitler.