Ordinary Men Essay

912 words 4 pages
Christopher R. Browning’s “Ordinary Men” chronicles the rise and fall of the Reserve Police Battalion 101. The battalion was one of several units that took part in the Final Solution to the Jewish Question while in Poland. The men of Reserve Police Battalion 101, and other units were comprised of ordinary men, from ordinary backgrounds living under the Third Reich. Browning’s premise for the book is very unique, instead of focusing on number of victims, it examines the mindset of how ordinary men, became cold-hearted killers under Nazi Germany during World War II. Christopher Browning’s “Ordinary Men” presents a very strong case that the men who made up the Reserve Police Battalion 101 were indeed ordinary men from ordinary background, and …show more content…

Some members fled, because they were assigned to kill Jews from their own hometown. One of the soldiers only believed in killing children. His reasoning was that after their parents were shot, the kids would not survive and it would be a sort of mercy for the children, and he would be doing them a favor by killing them. This is just one example, but many other members of the Police Battalion 101 were delusional; Nazi propaganda, and anti-Semitism blinded the members of the battalion, which caused them to commit unthinkable acts. By the time this blindness wore off, it was too late and the participants of Police Battalion 101 could not reverse their actions. Christopher Browning does a great job in “Ordinary Men” at arguing how ordinary human being can follow orders of unthinkable magnitude, like the Police Battalion 101. Nazi ideology and propaganda, and well as the governmental system of Nazi Germany produced a spell like control over ordinary men in Nazi Germany, which caused them to commit arguably the worst crime in human history. Primo Levy, a Jewish-Italian writer once said, “Monsters exist, but they are too few in numbers to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are…the functionaries ready to believe and act without asking questions.” We are often taught much about the Nazis like Adolf Hitler, Herman Goering, Heinrich Himmler, Rudolf Hess, and many others who sat behind a desk during the holocaust and gave orders to the


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