Search & Research, Lectures and Papers 22

The Murder of the Jews and Popular Consent: German Society during the Nazi Dictatorship

By Ulrich Herbert

Format: Softcover

Pages: 44

ISBN: 9653085091


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When research on German crimes during the Second World War intensified toward the end of the 1980s and its findings reached a broader public, the notion of a dichotomy between Nazis and elites on one side and the general population on the other became completely untenable. It was against this background that attempts to determine the responsibility of Germans as a whole became much more pronounced.

One of the insights gained in the new research is that the National-Socialist state developed a dichotomy between privileged "national comrades" (Volksgenossen) and the pairing of those alien to the nation (Volksfremde) and of foreign races (Fremdvölkische), who were subject to discrimination; this Nazi policy formed the de facto dividing line within German society. The current essay discusses the relationship between the privileged in German society and those defined as unequal and inferior, and the extent of realization of the postulate of "equality" among German Volksgenossen in practice.