[asa] Did racial science generated by Darwin cause the holocaust? book review

From: <RFaussette@aol.com>
Date: Fri Sep 01 2006 - 12:20:19 EDT

Recently, there was a thread suggestign Darwinism contributed to the rise of
nazi Germay and the holocaust.

I found the following link today:


Ever since Germany's defeat in World War Two and the total exposure of the
extent of this "war," historians have struggled with a fundamental question--why
then? After centuries of lower-level anti-Semitic persecution in Europe, why,
in Germany, during this period, did anti-Semitism explode into a full-fledged
campaign to eliminate Jews from the population--the so-called "Final
For a long time the conventional explanation for this development has focused
on the emergence during the nineteenth century of racial "science," which was
often used as evidence that Jews were something less than human.
For source material, Herf looked to what the Nazis themselves said about the
Jewish enemy — in the speeches of Adolf Hitler, the diaries of Joseph Goebbels
(comprising more than 40 volumes of 600 pages each), the thousands of daily
and weekly press directives the Nazi party issued to German periodicals, and
the antisemitic wall newspapers and posters that dominated the visual landscape
of ordinary Germans. He finds that the Nazis' threats to annihilate Jewry were
almost always accompanied by the claim that Jewry intended to annihilate
them. This was the perverse but sincere logic of paranoid politics.
As Herf put it himself in an interview with the Baltimore Sun's Michael Hill:
"Most importantly, Nazi anti-Semitism was not only a set of prejudices and
hatreds; it was also an interpretive framework, a way of understanding the
For Hitler, Goebbels, Otto Reich and the other architects of the propaganda
regime, the shadowy hand of "international Jewry" was the only way to explain a
partnership as strange as that between the United States and the Soviet
Union. This "narrative of projection and paranoia," as Herf puts it, turns out to
be the primary impetus behind the Nazi regime's campaign to eliminate the Jews.
For them, the "war against the Jews" became synonymous with the war itself in
its wider geopolitical context.

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Received on Fri Sep 1 12:21:07 2006

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