The Holocaust and the German Elite Genocide and National Suicide in Germany, 1871–1945
This book, first published in 1981, is a study of the social and political sources of amoral political rule in modern times. Only a moral indifference unparalleled in history made the Holocaust possible, and by linking the German imperial ambitions to the meaningless suffering and death in the concentration camps, the true significance of the Holocaust is revealed in all its horror. Understanding this requires an understanding of the social forces that produced a national amorality among Germany’s elites. The author suggests three contributive causes: a marked ambiguity among Germans in their attitude towards social values; the development of a cadre characterized by status insecurity; and an inability to resolve internal conflict.
1. Introduction 2. Why Moral Indifference? 3. On the Cultural and Social Sources of Moral Indifference in a Nation That Failed 4. Value Dissensus in ‘German’ Society 5. One-Dimensional National Elites: Impressions from the Pages of History 6. State and Society in Wilhelminian Germany: The Birth of Mass Politics 7. Weimar and After: The Politics of Ideological Militancy 8. The Nazi New Order: Institutionalized Disorder 9. Toward a Social Theory of Moral Indifference