Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ordinary Men

Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, 1st Edition

By Tom Stammers, James Chappel

Macat Library

98 pages

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Description

Of all the controversies facing historians today, few are more divisive or more important than the question of how the Holocaust was possible. What led thousands of Germans – many of them middle-aged reservists with, apparently, little Nazi zeal – to willingly commit acts of genocide? Was it ideology? Was there something rotten in the German soul? Or was it – as Christopher Browning argues in this highly influential book – more a matter of conformity, a response to intolerable social and psychological pressure?

Ordinary Men is a microhistory, the detailed study of a single unit in the Nazi killing machine. Browning evaluates a wide range of evidence to seek to explain the actions of the "ordinary men" who made up reserve Police Battalion 101, taking advantage of the wide range of resources prepared in the early 1960s for a proposed war crimes trial. He concludes that his subjects were not "evil;" rather, their actions are best explained by a desire to be part of a team, not to shirk responsibility that would otherwise fall on the shoulders of comrades, and a willingness to obey authority.

Browning's ability to explore the strengths and weaknesses of arguments – both the survivors' and other historians' – is what sets his work apart from other studies that have attempted to get to the root of the motivations for the Holocaust, and it is also what marks Ordinary Men as one of the most important works of its generation.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the Text

Who was Christopher R. Browning?

What does Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Batallion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland Say?

Why does Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Batallion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland Matter?

Section 1: Influences

Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context

Module 2: Academic Context

Module 3: The Problem

Module 4: The Author's Contribution

Section 2: Ideas

Module 5: Main Ideas

Module 6: Secondary Ideas

Module 7: Achievement

Module 8: Place in the Author's Work

Section 3: Impact

Module 9: The First Responses

Module 10: The Evolving Debate

Module 11: Impact and Influence Today

Module 12: Where Next?

Glossary of Terms

People Mentioned in the Text

Works Cited

About the Authors

Dr James Chappel completed his PhD in Modern History at Columbia University and is currently teaching at Duke University. His work focuses on the intellectual, political and Religious History of Modern Europe.

Dr Thomas Stammers is lecturer in Modern European history at Durham University, where he specialises in the Cultural History of France in the age of revolution. He is the author of Collection, Recollection, Revolution: Scavenging the Past in Nineteenth-Century Paris. Dr Stammers’s research interests include a wide range of historiographical and theoretical controversies related to eighteenth and nineteenth-century Europe.

About the Series

The Macat Library

Great Works for Critical Thinking

Making the ideas of the world’s great thinkers accessible, affordable, and comprehensible to everybody, everywhere. 

With a growing list of over 180 titles across a broad range of subject areas, Macat works with leading academics from the world’s top universities to produce new analyses that focus on the ideas and the impact of the most influential works ever written. By setting them in context – and looking at the influences that shaped their authors, as well as the responses they provoked – Macat encourages readers to look at these classics and game-changers with fresh eyes.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDU028000
EDUCATION / Study Skills
HIS000000
HISTORY / General
LIT000000
LITERARY CRITICISM / General