Life Unworthy of Life: Racial Phobia and Mass Murder in Hitler's Germany
By: James Glass (author)Paperback
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In this path-breaking work of intellectual and cultural history, James M. Glass provides a provocative new answer to the questions about the Holocaust that bedevil us to this day: How and why did so many ordinary Germans participate in the Final Solution? And how did they come to regard Jews as less than human and "deserving" of extermination?Glass argues that the answers lie in the rise of a particular ethos of public health and sanitation that emerged from the German medical establishment and filtered down to the common people. Building his argument on a trove of documentary evidence, including the records of the German medical community and of other professional groups, he traces the development in the years following World War I of theories of racial hygiene that singled out the Jews as an infectious disease, and that determined them as "life unworthy of life" in the words of Nazi propogandists and German scientists.Looked at from a broader perspective, Glass writes, the actions and beliefs of the German people show what today would be regarded as insane, became, for World War II German society, normal politics.
Murdering millions of innocent people was not seen as a vicious criminal conspiracy, but as a therapy essential to the culture's well-being.
James M. Glass is professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland. The author of several other books, including Psychosis and Power, Private Terror/Public Life, and Delusion: Internal Dimensions of Political Life, Glass is well-respected for his knowledge on the interplay of politics and psychology. He lives in Silver Springs, Maryland.
* Prologue: The Ground of Killing * The Enthusiasts of Death * The Indifference Thesis and Science as Power * Scientific Practice and the Assault on the Jewish Body * Psychotic Preconditions to Mass Murder * Documentary Evidence Against Indifference * The Phobic Group and the Constructed Enemy * The Uniqueness of the Holocaust * Taboo, Blood, and Purification Rituals * Murderous Groups as Normal Groups * Psychosis and the Moral Position of Enthusiasm * The Politics and Process of Hate * Epilogue: The Site of Killing
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- ID: 9780465098460
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