Hitler's Willing Executioners by Daniel Goldhagen

1677 WordsFeb 16, 20187 Pages
Not many historical works have achieved more success and have generated more heated debate than Daniel Goldhagen's book Hitler's Willing Executioners. Goldhagen’s thesis relies on the idea that since medieval times, a specific kind of eliminationist anti-Semitism had developed in Germany. According to Goldhagen, the German population was already open to the idea of eliminating the Jews. He also claims that when Hitler came to Power in 1933, rather than slowly convincing the Germans to commit mass murder, he merely gave them the opportunity to do what they have wanted to do for years. Goldhagen also inflated the number of people involved, suggesting that hundreds of thousands were participating in the killing and that millions more would have willingly joined in, given the opportunity. Despite the rejection of the book by many German and non-German historians, the German version of the book, published in August 1996, sold very well. Eighty thousand copies of the German edition sold in the first month of the book’s release. By the time of Goldhagen's tour in September, three thousand copies were being sold every single day. Facts like these show how important communication is with the public. Hitler’s Willing Executioners was successful in Germany because of the accessibility of the book to the German population, the social context in which the book was produced, and the powerful marketing campaign that preceded the book itself. It would be hard to analyze the success of
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