Review of Peter Longerich's 'Holocaust'

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Peter Longerich's Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews is a recent contribution to the contemporary scholarly literature on the subject. The book was originally published in 1998 in German, under the title Politik der Vernichtung, Politics of Destruction. This 2010 English-language release is, as the author claims, shorter in some areas and longer in others. The primary additions include a chapter on anti-Semitism in the Weimar Republic, which adds considerable meat to the contextual evidence that Longerich includes in his history of the Holocaust. Moreover, the author draws on the release of new primary source data from the archives in Warsaw and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, which have only recently been revealed, archived, and cataloged. In addition to its being a fresh approach to the subject including new primary sources, Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews solves several scholarly problems related to how to conceptualize and hypothesize about the holocaust. In the Introduction, Longerich explains that previous scholarship on the specific subject of how the Final Solution came to be implemented has been divisive. Scholars have disagreed primarily over whether the Final Solution was implemented because of the centralized intentions of Hitler and the inner circle of the Nazi party; or because of the bureaucratic structure that allowed for "cumulative radicalization" of the party and the populace (Longerich, 2010, p. 1). Longerich

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