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Ordinary Men PDF

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Ordinary Men PDF –“A remarkable—and singularly chilling—glimpse of human behavior. . .This meticulously researched book…represents a major contribution to the literature of the Holocaust.”—Newsweek 

Christopher R. Browning’s shocking account of how a unit of average middle-aged Germans became the cold-blooded murderers of tens of thousands of Jews—now with a new afterword and additional photographs.

Ordinary Men is the true story of Reserve Police Battalion 101 of the German Order Police, which was responsible for mass shootings as well as round-ups of Jewish people for deportation to Nazi death camps in Poland in 1942. Browning argues that most of the men of  RPB 101 were not fanatical Nazis but, rather, ordinary middle-aged, working-class men who committed these atrocities out of a mixture of motives, including the group dynamics of conformity, deference to authority, role adaptation, and the altering of moral norms to justify their actions. Very quickly three groups emerged within the battalion: a core of eager killers, a plurality who carried out their duties reliably but without initiative, and a small minority who evaded participation in the acts of killing without diminishing the murderous efficiency of the battalion whatsoever.

While this book discusses a specific Reserve Unit during WWII, the general argument Browning makes is that most people succumb to the pressures of a group setting and commit actions they would never do of their own volition.

Ordinary Men is a powerful, chilling, and important work with themes and arguments that continue to resonate today.

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The Authors

Ordinary Men PDF

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1975

Christopher Robert Browning is an American historian, known best for his works on the Holocaust. Browning received his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1975. He taught at Pacific Lutheran University from 1974 to 1999, eventually becoming a Distinguished Professor. In 1999, he moved to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to accept an appointment as Frank Porter Graham Professor of History. Browning retired from teaching in Spring 2014. His research focuses on the Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. He has written extensively about three issues: first, Nazi decision- and policy-making in regard to the origins of the Final Solution; second, the behavior and motives of various middle- and lower-echelon personnel involved in implementing Nazi Jewish policy; and thirdly, the use of survivor testimony to explore Jewish responses and survival strategies. Some of his most notable publications include Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland (HarperCollins, 1992), The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939–March 1942 (University of Nebraska Press, 2004), and Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave Labor Camp (W.W. Norton & Co., 2010).

Dimensions and Characteristics of Ordinary Men PDF

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Harper Perennial; Revised edition (February 28, 2017)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
  • International Standard Book Number-10 ‏ : ‎ 0062303023
  • International Standard Book Number-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0062303028
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.4 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.31 x 0.86 x 8 inches
  • Book Name :Ordinary Men PDF

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Top reviews

AEvangelista “I listed to Professor Jordan Peterson on YouTube. He recommended this book to read an example of how, generally, ordinary men, not necessarily anti Jewish, could turn into mass murderers. These men were not forced to do these things, but bought into killing, and rounding up defenseless Jews—and others—not to be considered not a friend of the rest.

Interesting was a police captain, who could not bring himself to commit (actually, from after the first murders, he couldn’t bring himself to even go to where the murders would take place) the murders, gave this subordinates the orders of exactly what to do, who to do it to, and how—from his “sick bed.” As soon as the murders were completed, he was miraculously cured.

There were men ( actually, two) who refused, from the first order to murder, to engage in the holocaust the the Germans were perpetrating. Nothing happened to them—except that they were considered, by their fellow policemen, to be weak, and were not trusted.

The author’s direct conclusion is that anyone, you or me, given the right circumstances, could be a concentration camp guard, mass murderer, or Soviet Gulag camp guard and murderer. Another experimenter disagrees, and tries to use the Theodore Adorno list of the traits of the Nazi (authoritarian) personality. The author defeats this.

Consider today’s hatred for president Trump and the people who elected him: We hear, and read, from the Left how those people must be destroyed. Not “defeated”, but “destroyed” and never to be heard from again. Does anyone, listening to them, not think that, if they actually gained total control of the government, they would not become mass murders themselves?”

Jeremy David Stevens “Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland is a nonfiction account of the genocidal journey of a police battalion conscripted into Hitler’s Final Solution, mostly from first-hand accounts of the men themselves (from their interrogations when they were put on trial in the 1960s). The term “ordinary men” refers to the types of men they were before they became part of the war effort. Many (if not the majority) were cigarette salesmen, bakers, metropolitan police officers, and bankers. They were middle-aged men deemed too old to be conscripted into the regular army. In short, they were not the kinds of people you might expect would go on to become mass-murderers.

The first mass murder takes place in a Polish town called Jozefow. The commander of the unit was teary-eyed and choked up when he gave the order to his men. Accounts hold that he even gave them a way out, stating that if any man didn’t think they were up for the challenge (of murdering thousands of Jews on that day), they were free to step down. About twelve men (among hundreds) decided to step down and opt out of the killing. As a side note, these are the men we should really be studying, because if every man had their courage, we may have avoided the Holocaust altogether. Nevertheless, 1,500 Jews were shot in the back of the head and neck that day. Many were killed on the spot, and many were gravely injured, but left in the mass grave to suffer a slow, more painful death, being suffocated by their friends and family as they fell on top of them.

The book follows the battalion through other such mass killings, Judenjagd (“Jew Hunt”) in the Polish countryside, and their participation in gathering up and deporting Jews to Treblinka (a literal death sentence). Ultimately, these bakers, salesmen, and police officers were directly responsible for the deaths of 38,000 men, women and children through mass-shootings, and another 45,200 through collecting people from the ghettos and forcing them onto trains for Treblinka (a Nazi extermination camp).

Browning offers up a variety of reasons that these ordinary men participated in genocide, some more pertinent than others. Among those reasons are deference to authority, psychological need for conformity, fear of a brutal regime, fear of looking “weak” in front of other members of the battalion, detachment from the people they were killing, and indoctrination via the Nazi propaganda machine. None of these individual reasons would have been enough to drive ordinary men to mass murder, but altogether, the reasons became enough for many of them.

“But those who killed cannot be absolved by the notion that anyone in the same situation would have done as they did. For even among them, some refused to kill and others stopped killing. Human responsibility is ultimately an individual matter.” -Christopher Browning via Ordinary Men Chapter 18

While reading Browning’s conclusions, I couldn’t help but think about the conclusions of other men who have grappled with the evil deeds of men. In their own ways, both Jung and Solzhenitsyn tell us that we all have the inherent capability for malevolence. Jung adds that being hyper-aware of that fact is essentially our only shot at preventing us from acting upon it.

“The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn via The Gulag Archipelago

“…inasmuch as I become conscious of my shadow I also remember that I am a human being like any other.” -Carl Jung

Final say: 4/5 stars. This is a very powerful book that is difficult to read at times due to the (necessarily) graphic depictions of violence. If you are at all interested in human nature or World War II, read this book.”

Robert S. “I have nothing but praise for this book mainly because it avoids convenient and simplistic approach of blaming “anti-semitism” as the one and overwhelming reason why “ordinary Germans” committed most hideous crimes. The author shows a number of factors that must be considered with his role being partially that of a historian but also partially of a social-psychoanalyst. Inclusions of other studies 25 years after the initial publication has been incredibly useful and telling.

The sad thing is the book also shows how little justice has been served for the most cruel murders of thousands of men, women and children. When the legal system did act, the punishment was laughably inadequate and almost certainly didn’t affect the most serious offenders. Policeman murdering Jews during the war serving also as a policeman after the war is telling us possibly more than the author intended… It shows that Nuremberg trials have only given us “feel good illusion of justice” while most of the “ordinary murderers” were not only not punished but lived their lives even in positions demanding respect.”



Reference: Wikipedia

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