Ordinary Men Essay

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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…
Functionalism versus intentionalism is an ongoing historical debate about the origins of the Holocaust. The two questions that the debate centers around on are; was there a master plan by Adolf Hitler for the holocaust? The intentionalist argument is that there was a ‘master plan’, while functionalist’s ague that there was not. The second question is whether the initiative for the Holocaust and the Final Solution come from Adolf Hitler himself, or from lower ranks in the Third Reich. Both side agree that Hitler was the supreme leader, and was responsible for encouraging the anti-Semitism during the Holocaust, but intentionalists believe that the initiative for the final solution came from above, while functionalists argue that it came from the lower ranks within the bureaucracy. Before World War II, few of the members who made up Police Battalion 101 were not soldiers, officer, but came from simple backgrounds such as businessmen, dockworkers, machine operators, teachers, truck drivers, etc. Only a small percentage of the Police Battalion 101 was even part of the Nazi party prior to World War II. As the Final Solution in Poland went on, and more and more Jews were being massacred every day, many members of the battalion began to question themselves, and if what they were doing was wrong. The few soldiers who refused shooting were labeled as weak, and traitors to Germany, this was
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