Germans to kill unarmed, defenseless Jewish men, women, and children by the
thousands, systematically and without pity" (1996).
This makes Goldhagen (1996) conclude that "Virtually no evidence exists to contradict
the notion that the intense and ubiquitous public declaration of anti-Semitism [in Nazi
propaganda] was mirrored in people's private beliefs".
This does not explain why fascism spread to other European countries like Italy
and Spain as well. Besides, Browning, in the foreword of the 1998 edition of the book,
refutes Goldhagens’ thesis by stating that a large number of Nazi recruits had non-
Germanic roots. Also, the nationality angle also does not show explain why Hitler and his
SS targeting other minorities, like the Gypsies, apart from the Jews.
Goldhagen (1996), however, does not define who the ‘ordinary’ German is.
Typically, the recruits of the Nazi forces, as that of the Reserve Police Battalion 101, are
lower class people – the petty-bourgeoisie - who were earlier mobilized by the socialist
labor movement but by the early twentieth century, was left leaderless in the face of acute
economic downturn. The bourgeoisie – the bankers, most prominently - incidentally, was
composed of mostly Jews, whom the ‘ordinary’ Germans resented. Hitler maneuvered
this hatred successfully, thereby assuming power without exerting violent force, as
Golhagen (1996) acknowledges (North, 1997).
In Goldhagen’s (1996), thesis, he argues that 80-90 percent of Germans would
have partook in the killing of the Jews, disagreeing Browning’s (1992) view that 10-20
percent of German battalions refused to kill. Goldhagen (1996) uses the Battalion 101 as