Understanding the Holocaust

In”Hitler and the Holocaust,” Ian Kershaw begins his historiography stating,

“Explaining the Holocaust stretches the historian to the limits in the central task of providing rational explanation of complex historical developments. Simply to pose the question of how a highly cultured and economically advanced modern state could ‘carry out the systematic murder of a whole people for no reason other than they were Jews’ suggests a scale of irrationality scarcely susceptible to historical understanding.” (Kershaw, Ian.

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“Imperialist” Violence vs. “Developmental” Violence: The Violent Societies of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Soviet Union

One of the primary characteristics and areas of study on European dictators of the interwar period is the use and degree of violence in these regimes. In Christian Gerlach’s and Nicolas Werth’s chapter in Beyond Totalitarianism on “State Violence – Violent Societies,” the role that violence played in Nazi Germany in Stalinist Soviet Union respectively, as well as past historical interpretations of state violence within these regimes are assessed with a focus on the methods of violence, the degree of the violence, the role of the state, and the incorporation of ideologies ( (Christian Gerlach and Nicolas Werth, “State Violence- Violent Societies” in Beyond Totalitarianism: Stalinism and Nazism Compared, ed.… Read the rest here

Back to the Land: Restoring “Balance” and Morale

In Chapter 4 of Three New Deals, Wolfgang Schivelbusch discussed how the return to and the love for the land was an important component of Hitler’s Third Reich, Mussolini’s Fascist Italy, and FDR’s presidency. The Great Depression and the First World War devastated all three of the nations and balance and morale was completely destroyed. All three of these countries were in search for a response to both events to would build up the economy, as well as the collective community.… Read the rest here

Frameworks of Social Engineering

How can we truly go about with categorizing populations? In the case of Stalin’s USSR and Nazi Germany, populations were categorized by class and race respectively. Chapter 6 of Beyond Totalitarianism, Christopher R. Browning and Lewis H. Siegelbaum examine the different “radical recategorizations” of the populations in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. <Christopher R. Browning and Lewis H. Siegelbaum, “Frameworks for Social Engineering: Stalinist Schema of Identification and the Nazi Volksgemeinschaft,” in Beyond Totalitarianism: Stalinism and Nazism Compared, ed.… Read the rest here

The Race or the State

Many often link Fascism and Nazism together and even believe that Nazism is a form of Fascism. However, that is completely not the case. Both ideologies although developed during the same time period with similar motives have their very own definition. Nazism derived as the ideology of the NSDAP (National Socialist German Worker’s Party), most commonly known as the Nazi Party. Meanwhile, Fascism came about Benito Mussolini’s new political movement to bring Italy back on its feet through authoritarian rule.… Read the rest here

The Three New Deals: Kinship?

“Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt’s America, Mussolini’s Italy, and Hitler’s Germany, 1933-1939” by Wolfgang Schivelbusch gives a new take on the ideals and foundations of totalitarianism and collectivism by juxtaposing the politics and economics that dominated the US, Germany and Italy during the 1930s. In this text, Schivelbusch investigates the fundamental similarities between the “three new deals.” Putting all three of this regimes next to each other gives a different perspective on the totalitarian regimes that rose after the Great Depression, as well as on Roosevelt’s democratically praised New Deal programs.… Read the rest here

Modernity in the Soviet Union

In this article, historian, David Hoffman discusses the trends of modernity during the late 19th to 20th century, particularly in Russia as it became the Soviet Union. According to Hoffman, modernity is linked with the many ideals of the Enlightenment. Many tend to link the term modernity with democracy and associate it with the political and economic systems of the United States, England, and France. Hoffman briefly discusses the ideas of the enlightenment and the need for reason.… Read the rest here