I have long desired to see a "great" novel or film depicting ordinary germans' lives in the 20's and 30's -- to see how far well-woven propoganda, and the scarcity of outside information and critical thought, mixed with peer-pressure, strong and noble themes, etc, in the context of severe economic depression and hyper-inflation, could shape ones beliefs towards scapegoats, extreme measures -- and the unthinkable.
This non-fiction book appears to do that, or at least takes one down that road. I just saw a great interview of the author on Booknotes (Cspan.) Anyone read this book? Even if of lesser severity, the scope and severity of the dynamics may be different from germany between the two WW, there are potentially strong parallels to True Belief Syndrome, and US and western forays to "root out evil": crusades (evil muslims), WWII, (evil, less than human "japs"), cold war (evil russians), [before you go ballistic shemp, I never have and never will hate Maria Sharapova], war on terror [evil muslims]. Thus the US can kill 100,000 non-combatant citizens in fire bombs in one night, and then again and again, and then millions in Hiroshima etc, and rationalize it as justifiable. As germans could rationalize rooting out the 'source of allied aggression and agression against germany' as justifiable. As "nuking those camel jockeys into a big parking lot" -- is rationalized as justified by some even today in thee "modern" US. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0674021754/sr=8-1/qid=1153011114/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-0587581-9745548?ie=UTF8 Editorial Reviews Review Here, practically for the first time, we can see how Germans before and during World War II were at all times in their daily lives confronted with a carefully designed view of the world in which a mythical Jewish enemy was portrayed as threatening Germans and hence had to be killed. No prior study has shown as clearly as this one how central this theme was to German wartime propaganda in all its forms. --Gerhard L. Weinberg, University of North Carolina Jeffrey Herf has written a brilliant book that reorients our understanding of the Holocaust. Arguing that racial antisemitism, however vicious, was an insufficient basis for genocide, Herf demonstrates that a major shift occurred in Nazi propaganda during the war: Jews were now presented as a political threat to the German nation, and as the instigators, through their puppets, America, England, and the Soviet Union, of a deadly world war against Germany. --Susannah Heschel, author of Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus A commendable and compelling elucidation of the Nazi propaganda which accompanied the Holocaust, indispensable for both students of the Third Reich and general readers. --Jay W. Baird, author of The Mythical World of Nazi Propaganda, 1939-1945 In this impressive book, Jeffrey Herf shows that the omnipresent image of the 'international Jew' as the source of Germany's victimhood was central to the propaganda and political imagination of the Nazi leadership, which made no secret of its intention to destroy European Jewry. --Anson Rabinbach, Princeton University Book Description The sheer magnitude of the Holocaust has commanded our attention for the past sixty years. The extent of atrocities, however, has overshadowed the calculus Nazis used to justify their deeds. According to German wartime media, it was German citizens who were targeted for extinction by a vast international conspiracy. Leading the assault was an insidious, belligerent Jewish clique, so crafty and powerful that it managed to manipulate the actions of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin. Hitler portrayed the Holocaust as a defensive act, a necessary move to destroy the Jews before they destroyed Germany. Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, and Otto Dietrich's Press Office translated this fanatical vision into a coherent cautionary narrative, which the Nazi propaganda machine disseminated into the recesses of everyday life. Calling on impressive archival research, Jeffrey Herf recreates the wall posters that Germans saw while waiting for the streetcar, the radio speeches they heard at home or on the street, the headlines that blared from newsstands. The Jewish Enemy is the first extensive study of how anti-Semitism pervaded and shaped Nazi propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust, and how it pulled together the diverse elements of a delusionary Nazi worldview. Here we find an original and haunting exposition of the ways in which Hitler legitimized war and genocide to his own people, as necessary to destroy an allegedly omnipotent Jewish foe. In an era when both anti-Semitism and conspiracy theories continue to influence world politics, Herf offers a timely reminder of their dangers along with a fresh interpretation of the paranoia underlying the ideology of the Third Reich. 5 of 5 people found the following review helpful: Suggestive New Interpretations, June 5, 2006 Reviewer: Werner Cohn (Brooklyn, NY USA) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME) Herf's materials are powerful and unsettling, even to readers who are well acquainted with the literature on Nazism. He shows, in detail that has not previously been seen, how the Nazi war-time hate propaganda combined verbal attacks against Jews with attacks against the Allies. To these Nazi propagandists, the Jews were the overall enemy, standing behind and stage-managing the Allies. Herf's interpretation differs in some respects from previous work by others. He holds that the Nazis' anti-Semitic propaganda in wartime was essentially different from what they had done in the pre-war period: this war-time propaganda was, in his view, a deliberate incitement to commit the Holocaust, while previous campaigns had been no more than "traditional" anti-Semitism. Since the Nazis were never explicit in their propaganda about the mass killing of Jews, Herf's assertions about their intentions in this propaganda cannot be proven. Nevertheless, I find his interpretations highly suggestive, if not conclusive. Other aspects of Herf's interpretations of the war-time Nazi materials can be checked systematically. For at least fifty years, scholars have practiced and developed methods of content analysis, which, unfortunately, Herf does not use in this work. At least two of his claims should have been subjected to such analysis: 1) The relative prominence of anti-Semitic themes as compared to other themes, in the period in question, is a textbook example of the kind of problem for which content analysis is appropriate. 2) The periodization that Herf proposes -- the new themes that he sees in the wartime period -- can and should be tested by systematic methods. Despite these shortcomings, the book is highly suggestive. It will no doubt influence the scholarly work of the future. ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------~--> Yahoo! Groups gets a make over. See the new email design. http://us.click.yahoo.com/XISQkA/lOaOAA/yQLSAA/UlWolB/TM --------------------------------------------------------------------~-> To subscribe, send a message to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] Or go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FairfieldLife/ and click 'Join This Group!' Yahoo! 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