THE ORIGINS OF THE FINAL SOLUTION: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939–March 1942
An internationally renowned historian of the Holocaust, Browning explains the evolution of Nazi anti-Jewish policies from discrimination and expulsions to outright systematic murder. Once the Nazis had seized power in 1933, the exclusion of Jews from German and European society was inevitable, but there initially existed no premeditated plan for genocide. Based on a superb mastery of the archival sources and the secondary literature, Browning leads his readers through the step-by-step radicalization of Nazi policies in the critical months after the outbreak of WWII. Occupied Poland was the "laboratory of racial policy," where Nazi functionaries experimented with expulsions and shootings of Jews while regular army officers essentially caved in to the brutalities of the SS. But all the plans for expulsion ran aground, Browning shows, due to the exigencies of war. In the wake of the invasion of the Soviet Union, mass killings became the policy of choice to solve the Nazis' self-imposed "Jewish problem." Browning argues that at every stage, the "euphoria of victory" in the war led to a radicalization of policies against Jews. Even though Hitler rarely issued explicit orders, Browning shows he was intimately involved each step of the way. Not every reader will want to wade through the immense detail that Browning (Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland ) so skillfully lays out, and some may find bewildering the array of individuals and agencies involved in the Final Solution. Still, this book is sure to become the standard work on the emergence of the Holocaust. 3 maps not seen by PW . (Mar. 1)
FYI: This volume is the first in a new series, the Comprehensive History of the Holocaust, copublished by University of Nebraska Press and Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust museum and memorial .