The Politics of Hate: Anti-Semitism, History, and the Holocaust in Modern Europe

Overview

Mr. Weiss shows how anti-Semitism and racism developed as a major element in the European political process from the late nineteenth century to the Holocaust. The reasons for these developments help us understand why the politics of racial hate succeed and what can be done about it. A concise, lucid, clear-headed account.... The strength of John Weiss's acute analysis lies in its ability to show under what historical conditions anti-Semitism could become a trigger for massive 'ethnic cleansing.'... A refreshing ...
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Overview

Mr. Weiss shows how anti-Semitism and racism developed as a major element in the European political process from the late nineteenth century to the Holocaust. The reasons for these developments help us understand why the politics of racial hate succeed and what can be done about it. A concise, lucid, clear-headed account.... The strength of John Weiss's acute analysis lies in its ability to show under what historical conditions anti-Semitism could become a trigger for massive 'ethnic cleansing.'... A refreshing and important book, a timely warning that much still needs to be done. —Robert Wistrich, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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Editorial Reviews

Choice
The book is informed by wide reading. . . . Its ideas are provocative and well argued.
Midwest Book Review
More than just another holocaust history. . . . A fine survey of how the politics of hate actually evolve.
CHOICE
The book is informed by wide reading. . . . Its ideas are provocative and well argued.
Stanislao G. Pugliese
A succinct yet detailed examination...offers a more nuanced portrait than most.... An important and illuminating contribution.
Frederick M. Schweitzer
Wonderfully insightful.... Written with verve and eminently readable..an inspiration.
Robert Wistrich
A concise, lucid, clear-headed account . . . acute . . . a refreshing and important book, a timely warning.
Kirkus
A thoughtful survey of the political and cultural conditions that fueled 20th-century Europe's war on the Jews.
Midwest Book Review
...More than just another holocaust history.... A fine survey of how the politics of hate actually evolve.
Library Journal
Rather than provide a history of the Holocaust or one of anti-Semitism, Weiss (history, Lehman Coll.) seeks to establish the relationship between anti-Semitic politics and the Holocaust. Fundamentally, he aims to provide an answer to the most pervasive Holocaust questions: why did so many people participate in the mass killings of Jews? And why did so many others stand by and watch it happen? Weiss sees the answer in the pervasiveness of anti-Semitic ideology, a 19th-century legacy that the Nazis and traditional conservatives adapted to contemporary circumstances. Weiss adroitly reminds readers that pre-Nazi ideologs addressed their anti-Semitic diatribes to the educated classes of Europe and that universities were in fact hotbeds of anti-Jewish activities. By focusing on anti-Semitic politics, in particular those of right-wing conservatives, Weiss provides important background for the rise of Nazism and the willingness of politicians, as well as average citizens, to acquiesce in the destruction of European Jewry. Although Weiss provides an excellent context for the role of anti-Semitism in European politics, even explaining why Italy stands apart, the book does not adequately demonstrate the linkage between ideology and action, something that may be unattainable. More accessible to the general reader than Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners, this book is suitable for all libraries.-Frederic Krome, Jacob Rader Marcus Ctr. of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A thoughtful survey of the political and cultural conditions that fueled 20th-century Europe’s war on the Jews. Both extending and revisiting the arguments advanced in Ideology of Death (1996), Weiss (History/CUNY) traces what he identifies as the five major sources of anti-Semitism in European history: Christian hostility to Jews, "obviously never the message of Christ"; commercial rivalry and jealousy, by which Jews were "assumed to be fit only for the lowest forms of commerce," even as many of them developed strong mercantile and financial institutions; the identification of Jews with revolutionary and liberal movements; the rise of a pseudo-scientific ethnology that assigned Jews and other ethnic minorities a lower place on the European evolutionary ladder; and ethnic nationalism. All came to a head in the 1920s, Weiss writes, and different countries experienced anti-Semitism differently in the two subsequent decades: in Austria, for instance, anti-Semitism rooted firmly among and was spread by the college-educated young, who had had a strong dose of racist "anthropology"; in Poland, conversely, anti-Semitism was strongest among the lower middle class, which competed most heavily with urban Jews for jobs in a depressed economy. (Italy proved the great exception: "Jews mixed well with Italians," Weiss writes, so well that "even the popes could not prevent it in Rome, though they tried.") All those strains emerged in Germany, where different orders of society found different reasons to vent their hatred of Jews, authoring the near-total devastation of Europe in the process. Weiss concludes that most of these lines of thought have been largely extinguished, so that "the complex of eventsthat caused the Holocaust cannot recur in Europe, and short of nuclear terror the numbers can never be duplicated." Nothing new here, but Weiss makes a useful overview of the rise--and, it is to be hoped, fall--of European race hatred.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566636001
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 6/28/2004
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

John Weiss's Ideology of Death: Why the Holocaust Happened in Germany was lauded for its balanced interpretation. Mr. Weiss is professor of history at Lehman College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and has also written The Fascist Tradition and Conservatism in Europe.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 The Origins of European Anti-Semitism 3
2 Germany to 1914 16
3 Germany: Hitler, the Elites, and the Holocaust 38
4 The Austrian Empire Through 1918 61
5 Austria, 1918-1945 83
6 France Before 1914 105
7 France, 1914-1945 127
8 Anti-Semitism in Poland to 1918 149
9 Poland, 1919-1947 168
10 The Italian Exception 193
11 Concluding Speculations 217
A Note on Sources 226
Notes 228
Index 233
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