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Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews, and Ordinary Germans
by Eric A. Johnson (Goodreads Author)
Nazi Terror tackles the central aspect of the Nazi dictatorship head on by focusing on the roles of the individual and of society in making terror work. Based on years of research in Gestapo archives, on more than 1,100 Gestapo and "special court" case files, and on surveys and interviews with German perpetrators, Jewish victims and ordinary Germans who experienced the Thi ...more
Paperback, 664 pages
Published December 4th 2000 by Basic Books
(first published January 6th 2000)
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(showing 1-30 of 243)
When I read this book I wasn't surprised about its main thesis. It is a well-known fact that even the most dictatorial of governments manage to hang on to power only by judiciously dosing out the terror they choose to inflict. A regime that descends into an orgy of blood-letting against its own citizens, such as Pol Pot's Cambodia, or Idi Amin's Uganda or Macias Nguema's Equatorial Guinea can only become undone. It is also a well-known fact that most people have no strong views about events that ...more
The author digs into the history to debunk some mid held beliefs about the Nazi's and the culpability of the average German in the horrors of their reign. The Gestapo was a small controlling group built on top of fellow citizens denouncing of neighbors and family members. I never knew about the Jehovah witnesses being a targeted group.
Good book. Johnson makes a strong case that while there were many levels of participation and guilt in the execution of the Holocaust, ordinary Germans share a level of guilt in their silence and lack of action to stop the madness. The terror that many associate with the state of Germany during this time period was not really experienced or felt by the majority of ordinary Germans thus not a factor in scaring them into compliance. The terror of the Nazi regime was on the other hand felt in extre ...more
Jun 05, 2009 Nathan rated it did not like it · review of another edition
The crowing claim of the dust jacket's review to have made "a complete hash" of Jonah Goldhagen's thesis is somewhat undermined by the book's messy organization and contradictory accounts. The bulk of 500-odd pages does nothing to convince the reader that ordinary Germans are extraordinarily culpable for the Holocaust; indeed, the most compelling evidence is a few charts provided at the outset. Far too reliant on personal anecdote (some of which seemed to disprove the thesis), this book is valua ...more
I actually started this book some time ago, so I didn't really read all 500-ish pages today! It was repetitive and had too many numbers in it (statistics about percentages who aided, didn't aid, were accused by the Nazis, etc.). The basic premise is that most Germans knew about the Holocaust and didn't try to stop it; they had opportunities to do so and chose not to. The book certainly proves that fact.
It's always hard to say whether I enjoyed reading a book about Nazi Germany and their treatment of the Jewish people. I can say that I found this book enlightening and educational. At times it reads like a college text book, but I had to look past that and to focus on the main gist of the book. Also, as a CMU Alumni I liked the fact this is written by a CMU History Prof.
Eric Johnson joined the CMU faculty in 1976 after studying at Brown and Stockholm Universities and receiving his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. Over the years he has taught a wide array of courses, primarily focused on modern Europe, Germany, the Holocaust, and social science methods and approaches to historical study. He has held several visiting professorships of various lengths. As pa ...moreMore about Eric A. Johnson...