Ways in to the Text
Christopher Browning is the leading American historian of the Holocaust. Browning's early research looked at the role of government officials, the bureaucrats who had formulated Nazi policy in Eastern Europe. Indeed, this was the topic of Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, Browning's vivid and harrowing account of a German police force in an occupied country. Published in 1992, Ordinary Men is a book about the behavior and psychology of 500 German men during World War II. Ordinary Men is a crucial introduction to some of the most innovative scholarship on the Holocaust. American author Daniel Jonah Goldhagen was incensed by Browning's description of Reserve Police Battalion 101 as "ordinary". Goldhagen went on to argue that this vicious anti-Semitism had been common to almost all Germans under the Nazis. This clash between Browning and Goldhagen is particularly interesting for students of history.