Was the extermination of the Jews part of the Nazi plan from the very start? Arno Mayer offers astartling and compelling answer to this question, which is much debated among historians today.In doing so, he provides one of the most thorough and convincing explanations of how the genocidecame about in Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?, which provoked widespread interest and controversywhen first published.
Mayer demonstrates that, while the Nazis’ anti-Semitism was always virulent, it did not becomegenocidal until well into the Second World War, when the failure of their massive, all-or-nothingcampaign against Russia triggered the Final Solution. He details the steps leading up to thisenormity, showing how the institutional and ideological frameworks that made it possible evolved,and how both related to the debacle in the Eastern theater. In this way, the Judeocide is placedwithin the larger context of European history, showing how similar ‘holy causes’ in the past havetriggered analogous – if far less cataclysmic – infamies.
About the Author
Arno Mayer is Professor Emeritus of European History at Princeton University. His many books include The Persistence of the Old Regime: Europe to the Great War, The Furies: Violence and Terror in the French and Russian Revolutions, Plowshares into Swords: From Zionism to Israel and Why Did the Heavens Not Darken? The “Final Solution” in History.
Table of Contents
A Personal Preface vii
I Prologue: Historical Signposts 3
II The Golden Age 39
III The East European Rimland 64
IV The Syncretism of Mein Kampf 90
V The Founding and Consolidation of the Nazi Regime: Mainsprings of Deemancipation 113
VI Expansion and War, 1938-40: Catalysts for Forced Emigration, Ghettoization, and Deportation 159
VII Conceiving Operation Barbarossa: Conquest and Crusade 200
VIII The Miscarriage of Barbarossa: From Pogrom to Babi Yar 234
IX Wannsee: Toward the "Final Solution" 279
X Waging War to the Death: The Rape of Europe 313
XI Auschwitz 348
XII The Extermination Sites: Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibór, Treblinka 376
XIII In The Maelstrom of Final Defeat: The Death Marches and the Wrack of Hungarian Jewry 409
Appendix, Memory and History: On the Poverty of Remembering and Forgetting the Judeocide 467