Reddit Reddit reviews Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland

We found 105 Reddit comments about Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

German History
European History
Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland
Harper Perennial
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105 Reddit comments about Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland:

u/Fandorin · 810 pointsr/worldnews

I don't need to see it. I was born Kharkov, Ukraine.

In 1940, the NKVD killed about 22,000 Polish officers in cold blood in the Katyn Forest. These were unarmed prisoners.

In 1941, about 15000 Jews were rounded up by the Nazis and brought to Dobrytsky Yar, where they were killed. The parents were shot, the kids were thrown in to the pits to freeze to death among the corpses of their parents to save bullets.

I played in both forests when I was a kid, completely ignorant of the history. What people need to internalize is that neither the Nazis or the Soviet or ISIS now are monsters. They are ordinary men, and ordinary men are capable of doing these things under the right conditions. To dehumanize them is to forget this and forget that any of us could be on either the receiving end or the giving end.

Edit -

u/methshin · 626 pointsr/worldnews

For all the people condemning this bookkeeper, I recommend reading a book call Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the final solution in Poland

It'll put into perspective that if you were in 1930's Germany, there's a good chance you'd be a Nazi, and if the opportunity to become a bookkeeper came up, you'd jump at the opportunity.

u/TheHuscarl · 225 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

The Clean Wehrmacht myth is a blatant lie. The Wehrmacht were repeatedly involved in war crimes, including the extermination of undesirables, and at the very least most, if not all, members were aware that their government was pursuing a campaign of violence against civilians and had purged undesirables (such as cripples and mentally ill) from society back home. The Wehrmacht may have been normal men, but that does not mean they are free of the blame for what occurred during World War 2.

Here are some resources regarding the Clean Wehrmacht Myth:

I'd also add Ordinary Men to that list, as it's a very interesting study/discussion of how plain people like you and me can become bloodthirsty exterminators of other people in the right circumstances.

Edit: Done replying to comments in this thread, it's exhausting. None of the argumentation is new. To quote the Duke of Wellington, "they came on in the same old way...". The materials are there for you to explore and read. You can form your own judgments based on facts and rigorous research, that's the beauty of a free and open society, the kind of society Nazi Germany was actively trying to prevent. The reason the Clean Wehrmacht myth needs to be refuted is because, as I've said in another comment, it presents an ignorant view of history that allows us to avoid the hard truth, learned largely from World War Two, that ordinary men who would otherwise be considered honorable, decent people can take part in atrocious crimes or, at the very least, hear about them and be permissive or even supportive of them. If we deny that, we can't learn to prevent such things happening again.

Edit 2: Honestly last thing, I just want to add a comment by one of the mods of r/askhistorians specifically relating to this subject. It's honestly the best comment on Reddit I've ever seen regarding this subject and it has a list of plenty of resources for those who want to investigate this issue further:

u/ColonelRuffhouse · 180 pointsr/todayilearned

This is stated over and over recently, and it's largely false. Yes, there was some drug use in the Nazi military, but mostly among fighter pilots and tank crews. The book Blitzed by Norman Ohler is a classic example of the overstatement of drug use in Nazi Germany, and this review just tears it to shreds. I'd really recommend reading the whole thing, but a few choice excerpts are:

> The use of methamphetamine was common, he argues, particularly in the form of “Pervitin”. The drug, [Ohler] says, was manufactured in huge quantities: 35m tablets were, for example, ordered for the western campaign in 1940. This seems an impressive figure, until you recall that more than two and a quarter million troops were involved, making an average of around 15 tablets per soldier for the entire operation. Given the concentration on supplying tank crews with the drug, this means that the vast majority of troops didn’t take any at all.

And continued:

> Ohler goes much further than claiming that methamphetamine was central to the German military effort, however. He claims that its use was universal among the civilian population of Germany, too... This sweeping generalisation about a nation of 66 to 70 million people has no basis in fact. No doubt a number of Germans took, or were even prescribed, opium derivatives for medical conditions, or took them to alleviate the growing stress of living in a country that by mid-1944 was being invaded from all sides and buckling under the strain of intense aerial bombardment. But to claim that all Germans, or even a majority of them, could only function on drugs in the Third Reich is wildly implausible.

The author makes his central point, and perfectly illustrates why I hate the overstatement of drug use in Nazi Germany:

> What’s more, it is morally and politically dangerous. Germans, the author hints, were not really responsible for the support they gave to the Nazi regime, still less for their failure to rise up against it. This can only be explained by the fact that they were drugged up to the eyeballs. No wonder this book has been a bestseller in Germany.

To imply that using meth 'stripped the Nazis of empathy' is to imply that not only everyone who was involved in Nazi atrocities was somehow not responsible for their actions and on meth constantly, but to also imply that similar atrocities are impossible unless the perpetrators are on drugs or in an altered mental state. The lesson of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust is that normal people committed those acts, just like you and me. A good book which delves deeper into this topic is Ordinary Men by Christopher Browning. I wish people would stop propagating this nonsense and do proper research.

u/wiking85 · 103 pointsr/worldnews

Or get transferred to the front, which was a death sentence. Also it isn't like the SS or Army advertised that there would be no punishment, plus they would force the person declining to publicly step out with the rest of his unit and shame him for it, which in the military culture of honor/masculinity was a huge deterrent. It's not as if they made it psychologically easy, but then capitalized on that acquisence to make people commit crimes and not complain about it or protest because they had bought in by not stepping out. Rather diabolical how they used psychology against their own people to get them to do horrible crimes.

u/mikeaveli2682 · 52 pointsr/hiphopheads

Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.

Edit = I've listed some of the best books I've read on the subject below. Just ask if you want to know anything about them:

[The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans] (

[The Third Reich in Power by Richard J. Evans] (

[The Third Reich at War by Richard J. Evans] (

[Maus by Art Speigelman] (

[Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics by Frederich Spotts] (

[Art of the Third Reich by Peter Adam] (

[Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe by Mark Mazower] (

[State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda by Susan Bachrach and Steven Luckert] (

[Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris by Ian Kershaw] (

[Hitler: 1936-1945 Nemesis by Ian Kershaw] (

[The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide by Robert Jay Lifton] (

[The Destruction of the European Jews by Raul Hilberg] (

[Heinrich Himmler by Peter Longerich] (

[Hitler's Hangman - The Life of Heydrich by Robert Gerwartch] (

[Nazi Germany and the Jews: Volume 1: The Years of Persecution 1933-1939 by Saul Friedlander] (

[Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945: The Years of Extermination by Saul Friedlander] (

[Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher R. Browning] (

[KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps by Nikolaus Wachsmann] (

u/eternalkerri · 50 pointsr/AskHistorians

It's hard to pin down exactly and by what standard you want to judge "Nazi Ideology".

Were most German soldiers patriotic and nationalistic. Most certainly yes. In Hitler's Army, the author makes strong arguments, using everything from rank and file soldiers diaries to communications between high levels of the Wehrmacht, that the average German believed in the rightness of their cause. That being the restoration of German pride, revenge for Versailles, defense against perceived threats to their way of life (Bolshevism), and defense of their homeland. As the war dragged on, defeatism, anti-Nazi sentiment, and war exhaustion did increase exponentially to where it was openly spoken of, at least by German civilians, their disdain for the Nazi's and Adolph Hitler.

In Ordinary Men, the author zeroes in on a particular police unit in Poland that actively participated in the Ethnic Cleansing of Poland of not only Jews, but Slavs, Poles, and other undesirables. While the book paints a largely dismal picture, showing that many went with the "following orders" principle, it was mixed, but definitely was a majority who participated in the Holocaust and Racist actions.

However, there are constant stories being cited, of German regular army, the Wehrmacht not dealing well with being tasked with taking on Holocaust related actions. There were reports of absenteeism, alcoholism, suicides, and even an occasional refusal of a direct order when these actions had to take place. While clearly these units did participate, it was not a mass action, but the large majority did participate. With what thoughts on their mind we can't say for sure across the board, but we do know that Nazi German soldiers overwhelmingly participated in these acts.

So on the whole, if you want to tie Nazism to the larger ideology of German Nationalism, then yes, the average soldier gladly followed the Nazi lead in this. While ascribing to their racist ideology and activities that related to the Holocaust, the numbers were smaller, but still a significant majority.

u/WeakStreamZ · 49 pointsr/history

I remember this from reading Ordinary Men in college. It’s worth checking out.

u/the_names_Dalton · 45 pointsr/worldnews

Christopher Browning's Ordinary Men sheds light on the Milgram experiments and the psychological factors that contributed to the murderous acts carried out by ordinary men in the Ordnungspolizei.

I was required to read this for a Germany 1919-1945 course I took in college. It left me with conflicting feelings towards the men who carried out these appalling murders. Barbers, shopkeepers, everyday guys. Uncomfortably questioning myself if I would have succumbed to authority and peer pressure and carried out the orders if in that situation (absent of hindsight).

u/GloriousWires · 42 pointsr/fakehistoryporn

The trouble with Germany circa that time is that the Nazis weren't tremendously Out There.

There's a book about this with a very relevant title that I think you should read, or borrow from a library, or something - "Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland". The youth of Germany are slightly less responsible for their actions due to years of intense Nazi brainwashing; the elders, not so much. The elders were the 'ordinary men', and even they were happy to line up a few thousand jews and throw the corpses in a ditch.

Wehrmacht soldiers were indisputably Nazis. "Nazi", you see, does not merely cover direct, sworn, card-holding members of The Party: it also describes those fellow-travelers who share the Party's views or further its interests.

Being a member of the German military circa that time involved swearing an oath of personal fealty to Adolph "I don't know which of these untermenschen I hate the most, so just go kill people and I'll tell you when to stop" Hitler, participating in blatant wars of aggression, and witnessing, if not cheerfully indulging in, all sorts of atrocities, with official opinions ranging from tacit approval to outright carte-blanche "slavs aren't people so it's legal to do whatever you want to them".


The Good Book says, in a different context, "ye shall know them by their fruits" - the Nazis had no fruits. Apart from a certain kind, as some of their officials were... peculiar.

Just about everything the Nazis made was garbage. Their vaunted ethics-less science was shit; they falsified reports to fit their politics, did idiot archaeological digs looking for evidence for their falsified aryan history, their concentration camp experiments were nothing but creative torture, and they ignored the whole concept of nuclear physics as "Jewish Physics" and for obvious reasons didn't contribute jack or shit to that field of endeavour.

And as for "but Hitler fixed the economy", wew fucking lad; their economy was a paper tiger based on lies, debt, scams, war booty, and slave labour, 'fixed' by printing money and propping it up with stolen goods, and if he hadn't gone on a war spree and looted Germany's neighbors of gold and goods, he would have been remembered as the architect of the worst catastrophe to hit the German economy since the 30 Years' War.

After The War, no-one who had any real choice in the matter used Nazi equipment; no-one could use all those horses Nazi logistics (which sneers at notions of efficiency) relied upon, because the starving soldiers had eaten them all; the Czechs threw away the Me262 once the Soviets got around to giving them MiGs; the Israelis only used the Bf109 until they could get something better and dumped it at the first opportunity; the Syrians only used the Panzer IV because no-one would give them real tanks; and the French only used the Panther because their own arms industry was munted, on paper it has good stats, and the Nazis left lots of them broken down by the roadside. For a reason, as it turned out. A heavy tank with a medium tank's drivetrain isn't exactly a recipe for success. But hey, it had a badass name and it was pretty good as long as you parked it on a flat surface and didn't try to drive anywhere, so it's been talked up as the best thing since the FT17.

The only thing the Nazis accomplished was to make a huge mess and get a lot of people killed for nothing. Killing people was their plan all along, and the "ordinary men" of Germany were more than happy to go out and shoot some untermenschen. While units like the einsatzgruppen and Dirlewanger Brigade catch a lot of flak for obvious reasons, the Nazi military in general had an atrocious reputation for all sorts of shittery ranging from looting and rape to indiscriminate massacres in 'reprisal' against imagined or real partisan activity- justified partisan activity, given that they were resisting unlawful occupation, when they existed at all, because "oops we just "accidentally" burned down another village, let's say these dead people were partisans" -bombing civilians just about everywhere they went, murdering prisoners, and all manner of things that would be classed in court as "aiding and abetting", including loaning troops and providing logistical support to the SS and einsatzgruppen.

The Wehrmacht only got out of being declared a criminal organisation, after the war, because they were too disorganised to qualify. And when you're talking about Nazi Germany, 'disorganised' is the normal state of affairs: too disorganised to be an organisation was one Hell of an accomplishment.


People like to talk about Mein Opa who bravely defended the Fatherland ^in ^^the ^^^motherland, and who Never Did Anything Wrong; really, it's amazing how many people had nothing to do with the Nazis and were just quietly doing their jobs and never 'employed' a slave labourer or noticed a camp that received a constant stream of jews, gypsies and Soviet POWs, yet somehow never had to build more barracks to hold them.

There is a marked tendency among Nazis, Neo- and otherwise, and sympathisers for such, to try and argue that occasional war-criming on the part of the Allies was as equally immoral as chronic war-criming on the part of the Axis, and that wars are inherently bloody things in which, occasionally, Mistakes Are Made; that it isn't right to pay too much attention to a few thousand dead Frenchmen here or a few thousand dead Poles over there, much less millions of 'missing' Jews and Russians, or to imply that a man in a Stahlhelm might not have been doing the Right Thing by Fighting For His Country.

Both sides did war-crimes. The Nazis treated them as a good day's work.

The usual excuse, once "the Wehrmacht didn't do war crimes" has been blown out of the water like the Bismarck, is that they did war-crime, but only because they'd be shot or sent to the Eastern Front or a concentration camp if they refused.

That wasn't usually a problem; if you didn't have the stomach for it, they'd just move you somewhere else. There was no shortage of young Hitlerites eager to murder some untermenschen, so if you were the one guy in a hundred who thought "Hang on, maybe this is a bit much," they'd get you to help dig the graves, or post you up the road to keep witnesses from getting underfoot, blacklist you from being promoted, or move you to an actual combat unit. After laughing at you and calling you a pussy, of course, because what kind of lily-livered moron gets weepy over a bunch of dead Jews/Gypsies/Russians?

Comparing any army to the Wehrmacht basically means implying that the soldiers in it are a pack of bloodthirsty bandits only held back from a rape-murder-and-pillage spree by fear of being caught.


This shit goes right back to the very end of WW2; The Cold War kicked off right after WW2 finished, and the Allies were willing to overlook quite a bit to try and get the remnants of the Wehrmacht to help out against the Soviets, so a lot of things, especially regarding the Eastern Front, got quietly brushed under the carpet if it'd get some shitbag with an Iron Cross to play ball.


And for a final bonus, "the propaganda" to "demonise the opposing soldiers"? Otto Carius complained about that in his memoir. He wrote of the angry glares of Allied prison camp guards who he felt were disapproving of him purely because of 'atrocity propaganda' and had no justification at all for looking down upon a heroic tank ace who just happened to habitually enjoy the cordial company of SS officers.

He was, after all, just fighting against Judeo-Bolshevism, and never did anything wrong.

The 'atrocity propaganda'. Riight. There's three kinds of propaganda - absolute bullshit, stuff that's mostly true, and truths that the enemy don't want people to hear about. When it came to the behaviour of the Nazi military, there was no need to make things up because everywhere they went, they behaved like the literal nazis they were. Rotterdam, Warsaw, Guernica, Warsaw (again), half-a-hundred other places...

u/DanDierdorf · 36 pointsr/ShitWehraboosSay

Buy Christopher Browning's "Ordinary Men" and loan it to him . It's not a difficult read, well the topic is, but the language is not.
You see that paperbacks are pretty cheap.

u/vidimevid · 35 pointsr/history

I you're interested in this subject, I highly recommend Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher R. Browning. Very interesting read that tries to find out why and how did ordinary middle aged German men commit those attrocities.

u/AntiChr1st · 31 pointsr/history

It depends a lot on when exactly we're talking. For a famous and spectacular example you have Albert Battel, who had the "deal with him after the war" added to his file by Heinrich Himmler personally. You have other examples like Erwin Rommel who was insubordinate on a general basis (wouldn't hunt jews, wouldn't tell anyone else to do it, refused to kill captured commandos) and got mightily unpopular for it. At that point they certainly had a hope of winning and losing people wasn't worth and there was still a general idea of "we want to keep this quiet".
At that point they also tried to keep the actual atrocities to volunteers (to prevent people from getting the option of insubordination in the first place).

If I remember correctly it was sometime late '44 that the feltgendarmerie (Military Police) was given the authority to shoot German soldiers on the spot (for desertion, cowardice, or refusing orders). Along with a rise in drummed up military courts wherever they happened to be handily available.
A lot of people were sent to penal battalions much easier then, as it didn't take actually sending someone to a proper judgement and sentencing.

Reading on the subject is difficult (the subject is surprisingly little covered directly, mostly referred to in passing by people covering other subjects. Far as I know there's no book on that one subject).
However, if you have a JSTOR account there is this. (this is the basis of the "nobody ever got punished claim btw). talks about how atrocities were committed and how people who might refuse to participate directly rather helped indirectly.
Sadly I don't know any easy way to gain a lot of insight into military insubordination in the German armed forces, not because it was rare (it happened more than you'd think), but because it's been covered surprisingly little and going over the old execution cases is something of a sore subject that's been met with a lot of resistance.

For civilian insubordination it's a bit easier as you can read up on people like Sophie Scholl who was beheaded for resistance, nonviolent resistance in her case as she was participating in the white rose.
People were regularly imprisoned for saying things critical to the regime (or Hitler, which is why Sophie Scholls father was in prison), so it's not a stretch to say that at the very least people believed insubordination would carry severe consequences.

Youknow, I'm more interested in history, and especially WW2 history, than the average person. I've seen videos of executions, pictures and videos from the most horrid camps and battles, I've read testimonies...
I have a strong constitution, I can "disengage" emotionally from most of these things. You have to in order to see it in the first place. As a result my response to things like Holocaust deniers saying it was impossible to burn that many bodies is to literally just do the math.

That picture of Sophie Scholl is one of only two things that I can honestly say makes me physically unwell.

u/unlimitedzen · 31 pointsr/australia

I agree. Despise the perpetrators all you want, I certainly do, but don't fall into the trap of believing they're somehow different. Christopher Browning wrote an excellent book on the Ordinary Men who helped in the attempted genocide of WWII:

>Browning reconstructs how a German reserve police battalion composed of "ordinary men," middle-aged, working class people, killed tens of thousands of Jews during WW II.

The study of "The banality of evil" warns us that blaming extremist actions on some type of "evil other" blinds us to the role we play in supporting those individuals:

>Normalizing the Unthinkable

>Doing terrible things in an organized and systematic way rests on "normalization." This is the process whereby ugly, degrading, murderous, and unspeakable acts become routine and are accepted as "the way things are done." There is usually a division of labor in doing and rationalizing the unthinkable, with the direct brutalizing and killing done by one set of individuals; others keeping the machinery of death (sanitation, food supply) in order; still others producing the implements of killing, or working on improving technology (a better crematory gas, a longer burning and more adhesive napalm, bomb fragments that penetrate flesh in hard-to-trace patterns). It is the function of defense intellectuals and other experts, and the mainstream media, to normalize the unthinkable for the general public.

u/Jackmono · 31 pointsr/KotakuInAction

Ordinary Men taking part in the extermination of the Slavic people. And ordinary men who participated in rape to such a scale that it caused a demographic shift.

u/Grammar_Kanye · 29 pointsr/Showerthoughts

A large part of the holocaust were liquidations in Poland and Eastern Europe. Towns as large as 30,000 people were "liquidated" in a day. Police units would march the populace into the woods and take a portion, line them up, shoot them at a proscribed place in the spine. Repeat. There is a horrific book called "Ordinary Men" about the 101 Police Reserve Battalion. Those ~500 men alone were responsible for >80,000 deaths.

u/meinator · 23 pointsr/Libertarian

The the book Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher R. Browning. It will give you an incredibly detailed account about how normal men became systematic killers.

u/aldotheapache2 · 20 pointsr/HistoryPorn

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

They knew. It is one of the biggest misconceptions about the Holocaust, that the German people had little to no idea what was going on, and that it was just the government. It depresses me to see it plastered all over this thread. I think it just makes people feel better to think that it was only a few evil people who perpetrated this horrendous crime, instead of many "normal" people. I highly recommend that everyone read the books and articles I linked to. They explain it much better than I can. I do doubt, however, that I will be able to change many peoples minds. Most of the time I don't even bother.

I'm not saying the Germans of today are bad, they have done many things trying to set right the crimes of their past generations. But the Germans of the time knew what was going on and many participated in it.

They knew.

u/Daitenchi · 17 pointsr/history

This is a great book on a related subject. It's about the polish police force during that era. When they were ordered to round up jews and execute them some did it willingly, some did it reluctantly because it was an order, and some just outright refused.

u/unknownmosquito · 15 pointsr/HistoryPorn

You don't have to be young. This book is a historical account of a police unit made of middle-aged men from pre-War Germany through their radicalization from normal men to the kind of people that bayonet pregnant women.

The power of groupthink and ideology is terrifying. The fact of the matter is that it can be confidently said that for any given person, if they were present in Germany during its Nazi transformation, they would almost certainly have become Nazis.

u/LawLx2 · 12 pointsr/todayilearned

You are going to get a new asshole torn open for openly disregarding the abundant accounts from outside and within the German armed forces themselves that state German Wehrmacht personnel willingly aided the SS. More importantly they also aided the Ordnungspolizei, the more important of the two, imo, as most people are not even aware of their existence. Most will probably read that name and go "Or dung poli- who?" especially people who think the Wehrmacht were shining beacons of virtue. By the end of the war the OrPo were assimilated into the SS. Who were the Ordnungspolizei and why were they incorporated into the SS? They were, prior to 1936, Germany's police forces. With their collectivization under Nazi control they became Germany's federal police. Many of the people simply retained their jobs during all of this, as it's easier for everyone if the police who worked under an organization of this or that name continue their jobs under a different organization with the same scope, broadly speaking. Give it a few years and the OrPo would be accompanying the German advance into the Eastern Front, where they participated in war crimes as a paramilitary force that herded Jews into ghettos and took part in mass murder. Let that sink in for a second, the once FEDERAL POLICE of Germany was gradually warped to the point where it was carrying out mass murder and finally amalgamated into the SS as there ceased to be a need to distinguish the two.

People all too often cite the SS as being packed to the brim with young and ideologically volatile German men who grew up affected by the rhetoric they were exposed to and bought into it. This is simply not reflective of reality when police officers who were predominantly middle-age and lived their early lives before post-WW1 sentiments began to brew were, in their 30s and 40s, complicit in war crimes and mass murder. As police officers. You really believe the Wehrmacht was guilt-free when what used to be civilian law enforcement took up arms and rampaged across Europe, safely behind the frontlines for the most part, murdering ethnic minorities and other "undesirables"? This is without even mentioning those same policemen become taskmasters in all corners of Europe, overseeing ten times or more their number in local collaborators, often regional police forces the Germans simply left intact and incorporated for their own uses. There's a good book on this called Ordinary Men. If ordinary cops can do that, you can bet your ass a soldier who has no reservations about killing people can do the same if not worse.

I'm sure there were German officers who vehemently opposed the shit they were being fed, but it wasn't significant nor does it stand as evidence disproving the occurrence of other incidents. You don't disprove something which is factually recorded as having happened by putting forward a case where the opposite occurred. Just like how you don't retroactively prove you didn't commit a crime by not committing a crime in a difference situation. That's not how it works.

Manstein was supposedly one of those German officers, rather far up the chain of command, who was not always in agreement with Hitler. Right up until the point he received a large estate in Poland and tax benefits, much like many other officers in the Wehrmacht complaints from him promptly ceased to manifest themselves and he was more than happy to serve. Manstein. The Manstein.

You're arguing with at best isolated anecdotes and excerpts from history which can be cherry picked to present a misleading narrative that is still mostly acceptable- if only to those who don't dig deeper and have little general knowledge of the Second World War and its darker details. At worst you're putting forward overwhelmingly misleading generalizations and just blatantly incorrect information you cannot find anywhere except from those who advocate historical revision. Against the bigger backdrop of documented history- minus cherry-picking, that's just not a fight you're going to win.

u/Hoyarugby · 12 pointsr/bestof

The user turned this narrative into a five part series of the first killings, how the ordinary men of Reserve Police Battalion 101 dealt with the aftermath of that killing, how the killings became a routine, and eventually details their largest mass killing - the killing of the 42,000 Jews in the Lublin Ghetto

HighCrimesandHistory's post is based on the fantastic work Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland. The book details the 500 middle aged family men of Reserve Police Battalion 101, mostly shopkeepers and tradesmen from Hamburg, as they directly killed at least 38,000 Jews in under a year, and sent tens of thousands more to the death camps.

The book itself is incredible and a must read for anybody interested, but /u/highcrimesandhistory turned parts of the book into an incredibly visceral and readable narrative

u/Fanntastic · 11 pointsr/HistoryPorn

I'd recommend Ordinary Men. It follows a reserve police battalion responsible for many round-ups and mass shootings. The author pours through dozens of interviews to get individual perspectives and motivations from the men themselves to see how a bunch of middle-aged reservists, most of whom weren't even members of the Nazi party, could kill like this.

u/thelankyasian · 10 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

During my graduate history studies we read this:

Using journals taken from these reservist policemen, the aurthor displays just how much the common man knew about the final solution and just how traumatizing it was to shoot them face to face.

u/Drijidible · 10 pointsr/history

I'd strongly recommend people read Ordinary Men.

"Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, a study of German Ordnungspolizei (Order Police) Reserve Unit 101, used to massacre and round up Jews for deportation to the Nazi death camps in German occupied Poland in 1942. The conclusion of the book, which was much influenced by the experiments of Stanley Milgram, was that the men of Unit 101 were not demons or Nazi fanatics but ordinary middle-aged men of working-class background from Hamburg, who had been drafted but found unfit for military duty. In some cases, these men were ordered to round up Jews and if there was not enough room for them on the trains, to shoot them. In other, more chilling cases, they were ordered to merely kill a specified number of Jews in a given town or area. The commander of the unit gave his men the choice of opting out of this duty if they found it too unpleasant; the majority chose not to exercise that option, resulting in fewer than 15 men out of a battalion of 500 opting out of their grisly duties."

u/Lonely_and_Deranged · 9 pointsr/sociopath

tl;dr: Psychopaths and Sociopaths are normal people.

Sociopathy is not a good/ bad thing that turn people into monster.It's just a copying mechanism for survivors of abuse in their childhood.

My advice for every sociopath with antisocial tendencies is: Focus your attention on the kind of person you want to be, rather than what kind of events you want to happen. Imagine how you would act now if you suddenly had impeccable character. Then, make your goal be to act that way, just for the moment.

I think the reason why people are concerned or even frightened by people that show no empathy is because it seems they cannot be reasoned with.
You cannot appeal to them with emotions, or other ways of relating that may have had an effect on a neurotypical.

What do people who lack empathy act like?

They behave all the time like you do most of the time.

Someone who lacks empathy does not vicariously feel the experiences of another. It does not mean they are predatory. It does not mean they are irresponsible. It does not mean they are sadistic. Do not be persuaded into demonizing such people.

Sociopaths and Psychopaths lack an empathy and/or guilt barrier that would prevent them from doing something that is generally perceived to be "wrong" "bad" or "immoral".

They are indifferent beyond measure,without mercy and justice.Try to imagine the indifference itself as a power.The truth is, indifference really is a power, selectively applied, and living in such a way is not only eminently possible, with a conscious adoption of certain attitudes, but facilitates a freer, more expansive, more adventurous mode of living. Joy and grief are still there, along with all the other emotions, but they are tempered – and, in their temperance, they are less tyrannical.Sociopaths are people who grit their teeth and tolerate pain and suffering.They’re serene and confident in the face of anything you can throw at them.

Think of the spartan warriors (IMO the most stoic society that there was). They were trained since kids to get rid of fear, they were encouraged to get in fight and make fun of each other in order to not take emotions seriously. The spartans had several types of drills that they did in order to abandon primal instincts and reflexes. For example, they would hit aspiring warriors in their eyes with vines until the warriors could stop reflex from closing both eyes when they got hit.

The spartans abandoned all primal instincts, including fear, so that they could be their 100% rational and tactical self during battle, and that's part of the reason they were such good warriors.

Some psychopaths may murder, but it’s not because of their psychopathy that they murder. Indeed, psychopathy or any other condition may have played an important role in someone’s decision making—obviously, no one makes decisions in isolation from their neurological condition—but it’s not the psychopathic mind that turns people to kill—and kill in numbers.

Contrary to being immoral, their social blindspot empowers them to avoid many moral pitfalls. Empathy frequently leads to morally bankrupt behavior:

When a control group in an experiment were asked whether a ten year old girl with a serious illness should be allowed to skip a queue to get medical treatment ahead of children who needed it more, they appropriately refused. When the subjects were encouraged to empathize with her by being given her name, face and personal story, subjects overwhelmingly opted to move her to the front of the queue, consigning faceless children to death.

This is a phenomenon that salespeople, politicians, lawyers and every one with an agenda knows to exploit. I'm exploiting it in this very post, and you didn't even realize it! Those who lack empathy have no such lever by which their thinking may be hijacked. They are more apt to make fair and rational judgments.

As with most things, empathy is not simple. It is not binary; it is not something you either have or don't. You will feel empathy for some people sometimes and other times you won't. Even if you are an empathic person, you frequently act with indifference or disproportionately small concern. Thousands recently died in the Philippines in a disaster that exceeded the 9/11 terror attacks; how many Americans fell to their knees and wept? Did you? The difference between you and someone who doesn't feel empathy is that they behave all the time like you do most of the time.

Champions for empathy will protest, "what's to stop someone from being a violent vandal if they don't have empathy?" Lets be clear about something; empathy won't prevent someone from doing horrendous things . Read the account of a Nazi reservist in Police Battalion 101 who, in spite of being viscerally empathic, participated in the point-blank execution of Jews:

> The shooting of the men was so repugnant to me that I
missed the fourth man. It was simply no longer possible
for me to aim accurately. I suddenly felt nauseous and
ran away from the shooting site.

Empathy is not a safeguard against cruelty. Empathy can even be manipulated into "counter-empathy" or sadism .Empathy was never a deterrent, and those who lack empathy have no more incentive than you to engage in foul behavior.

u/WhoIsSuzyCreamcheese · 9 pointsr/Anarchism

> They are first and foremost people and individuals with lives and families,

So is everyone; I don't think anyone seriously doubts it. ISIS members have families and people that love them. So do Klansmen. This is the most facile, boring anti-violence argument one can possibly imagine.

> they dont conciously go out to enforce unjustified hierarchy,

I mean, yes, they do. It's literally their job. Maybe they know it's unjustified, maybe they don't; I find it hard to care. Cops will do anything from mass executions ( to bathhouse raids if they're ordered and paid to. If they think hierarchy is unjustified, they either need to quit, or become selective when following orders. Put on the uniform, take the wage, pay the price.

> I cant believe the degeneracy and the actual hypocracy of some people, who would defend muslims as individuals against the type right wing facism and racism which paints all muslims as terrorists ,but find it perfectly acceptable to kill nameless Cops who had nothing to with the actions of their colleagues.

I mean, not all Muslims are involved in oppression. Cops are, definitionally; even if they're nice folks, orders are orders, standard policy is standard policy. This is just hilarious equivocation. And I mean, I don't think many people are outright saying yeah, go abduct and kill some cops - the overwhelming response I've seen has been about how inevitable this response was. And "has nothing to do with their colleagues" is pretty rich - even cops who act with outright violence often aren't hood-wearing neon-lights RACISTS, they're expressing subtle biases that other cops tend to respect and respond to. Cops in a department will draw into the blue wall and actively defend each other - when individual "good cops" start actually doing something about these supposedly unrepresentative "bad apples," I'll start to care about their differentiation.

> Do cops have role in maintaoning hierarchy? Yes. Do cops on a regular basis use violence and bullying to maintain this hierarchy? Yes. Should cops be killed irregardless of their actions or livelihoods? FUCKING NO.

I'd love to see some proof of people actually suggesting a kind of cop genocide unironically, because it's pretty obviously not what most people were saying.

> Why the fuck would you say shit like this, knowing it does not represent the ideolodgy of libertarian socialism, workplace democracy and the absance of hierachy?

You know violence and indeed outright assassination are the products of certain anarchist doctrines, right? Propaganda by the deed wasn't universal, but it's an important part of anarchist history. Admiration/ respect for such actions is not utterly incompatible with anarchism.

u/Gen_McMuster · 8 pointsr/slatestarcodex

Your last point is pretty reminiscent of ordinary men though this is definately easier to pull off when your exporting the jackbooted into communities they dont have ties with

u/MAI742 · 8 pointsr/history

TLDNR: the average German person never had strong positive or negative feelings about Jews, they just said that they hated Jews when the Nazis were in power and then said that they were okay with Jews when they were removed.


If you're not familiar with group psychology and conformity then the idea that you don't need to hate a people to commit genocide upon them might seem like a bold assertion to you, so I'd urge you to pick up one of the best (and cheapest) texts on this exact topic:

In that particular case it proved possible to get almost every member of a unit full of people who'd never killed anyone before, recruited from an anti-Nazi city (Hamburg), to kill a whole village's worth of innocent people by explaining how it was necessary to safeguard their country's National Security and indirectly making them feel embarassed about backing out in front of their friends and coworkers. They didn't have to threaten them, order them, or indoctrinate them. They just had to tell them that it would protect their loved ones and let them feel pressured not to slack off when they were with their peers.

You were absolutely right about the hardcore believers. They formed groups like the Wehrmacht Veterans Association and the SS Veterans' Association (which campaigned for the Waffen-SS to be decriminalised and its members to receive state pensions). People like Field Marshall Erich von Manstein went to the grave either refusing to say a single negative thing about Hitler or the regime or its policies, or outright saying (usually just to trusted friends) that they had been right.

Of course, even during the war the strong supporters of the regime and direct participants in War Crimes would have found it extremely emotionally damaging to change their views. To believe that what they had done was evil would have destroyed them. So they doubled down and believed as hard as they could that they had done the right thing and therefore were good people. Post-war 'De-Nazification' just strengthened their convictions.

Between the lacklustre response from average Germans, and the counterproductive effect among most hardcore ex-Nazis, even observers of the time called "De-Nazification" an abject failure. Later scholarship has made the depths of this failure even clearer.


Compare and contrast the relatively mainstream fear of Asian Communists, which endured in the public sphere/polite conversation even after the war - but with progressively softer rhetoric and more emphasis on the "Communist" than the "Asian" part.


EDIT: I can see why you'd want to believe that De-Nazification worked, but that doesn't make it true... I've yet to see the words "De-Nazification was a success" in any book or journal covering the process.

u/saltandvinegarrr · 8 pointsr/history

Hey OP, the book you want to read about this is Ordinary Men

The book covers the activities of an honest-to-god Einzatsgruppen unit, recruited from policemen around Hamburg. It's one of the most chilling books I've ever read about Nazi atrocities. The perpetrators of these massacres really were just ordinary people, yet as the author discovers, fell quite naturally into their role as executioners.

Browning provides a summary like so. ~10% of the unit committing atrocities became enthusiastic killers. ~80% performed their roles joylessly, but killed reliably and made no refusals. ~10% refused or hesitated at some point, without any real consequences.
A minority (13 of 500), abstained from killing outright.

In reality, if a German officer or soldier wished to abstain from committing atrocities, there was no real consequences for them. This held true even for the Einzatsgruppen, and certainly held true for regular army units.

u/Kiwi_Force · 7 pointsr/Battlefield

How is this brigading? I can provide more academic sources if needed.

The Clean Wehrmacht myth is a well documented fact in history academica. I just generally start off with a wiki article as they are easy to read and the sources for it are found at the bottom of the page if you want to verify it. No one is saying all or even half of the Wehrmacht were members of the Nazi Party. Quite the opposite, the entire point is that just because you weren't a card carrying member, doesn't mean they didn't do just as bad and sometimes worse things in the name of Nazism.

u/eorld · 7 pointsr/history

You clearly didn't read the second link, (also wtf is executing leaders of an opposing ideology, they were murdering prisoners of war) here's a few crimes by the 'ordinary men' of the Wehrmacht

> The 707th Infantry Division of the Wehrmacht put this principle into practice during an "anti-partisan" sweep that saw the division shoot 10,431 people out of the 19,940 it had detained during the sweep while suffering only two dead and five wounded in the process.[64]


> At Mirgorod, the 62nd Infantry Division executed "the entire Jewish population (168 people) for associating with partisans".[65] At Novomoskovsk, the 444th Security Division reported that they had killed "305 bandits, 6 women with rifles (Flintenweiber), 39 prisoners-of-war and 136 Jews".[65] In revenge for a partisan attack that had killed one German soldier, the Ersatz-Brigade 202 "as an act of retaliation shot 20 Jews from the villages of Bobosjanka and Gornostajewka and burnt down 5 Jew-houses".[66] Even more extreme was the case in Serbia, where the majority of the Jews there were murdered by the Wehrmacht, not the SS.[67] At Šabac, "Central European Jewish refugees, mostly Austrians, were shot by troops of predominantly Austrian origin in retaliation for casualties inflicted by Serbian partisans on the German Army".[65] The orders issued by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel in September 1941 called for the German Army to shoot 100 Serbs for every German soldier killed by the Serb guerrillas and did not call for Jews to be singled out.[68] But because of rampant anti-Semitism in the German officer corps, it was more or less automatically assumed that the Serbian Jewish community were behind all of the partisan attacks, hence the targeting of Jews in the mass shootings carried out in retaliation for guerilla attacks.[68] The German historian Jürgen Förster, a leading expert on the subject of Wehrmacht war crimes, argued that the Wehrmacht played a key role in the Holocaust and it is wrong to ascribe the Shoah as solely the work of the SS while the Wehrmacht were a more or less passive and disapproving bystander.[67]

Edit: Just to add, when you say that part about "normal people not liking that" that just isn't true, the Nazis made regular people key parts of the holocaust all the time. You should read about the 101st reserve police battalion, very regular normal people. They were middle aged, didn't grow up under Nazi propaganda, working class people from Hamburg, drafted but found ineligible for regular military duty. They ended up being a major part of the holocaust in Poland. (The citation for most of this is 'Ordinary Men' by Christopher Browning)

u/LGBTreecko · 7 pointsr/Negareddit

Have you tried reading this book? It explains the mindset of being a younger male back then. If you know that 3.5 million other Germans have already been sent to death camps for resisting, you'd probably get in line right next to everyone else, because, lets face it, that's what you'd be trained to do.

u/[deleted] · 7 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

To answer that question, here's a book for you: Ordinary Men.

Like you, those "ordinary men" believed that the Holocaust happened and mostly didn't particularly like Hitler. However, most of them didn't particularly hate the Jews, unlike you. They just murdered them and murdered them and murdered them as part of the holocaust. Some tried to get out of the service, others drank until they blacked out in order to carry out orders.

So, to answer your question. You're retarded.

u/SirViracocha · 7 pointsr/JoeRogan

While I do think it's podcast fodder. He brings this up. You must push back before it goes to far, incremental steps soon lead us far from where it was reasonable. An example of this gone wrong, was an ordinary german police force that ended up shooting women after nazi indoctination

u/Wsallgood · 7 pointsr/HistoryPorn

That really was a pretty rough read. Not a bedtime story. Link

u/lobotomatic · 7 pointsr/Christianity

Not to tread on the verge of falling prey to slippery slope argumentation, but I do think it is a rather short distance from, "we need to carry guns during worship to protect ourselves from... [insert vague and unlikely threat of your choice]," to, "kill them in the name of God."

One thing a reading of events surrounding the Nazi genocides has shown me is that the greatest amount of evil was perpetrated by normal people who believed they were helping the common good.

That's not so say Christians are Nazis or any such thing like that, only to point that the distance from "us vs them" mindsets to outright violence is not that far, even for otherwise peaceful and non-violent people.

An example of what I am referring to:

u/Singulaire · 7 pointsr/KotakuInAction

A bit of pedantry here: you wouldn't have necessarily been a Nazi, since many citizens of Nazi Germany, including members of the army serving in the eastern front, weren't actual members of the Nazi party. However, you probably would have "Sieg Heil'd like a motherfucker" and gone along with the orders to "liquidate" this or that batch of Jews.

> There's a story in Peterson's book about a troop of German Military police who go to Warsaw. Normal guys with families. Their officer tells them that its going to be rough, that nobody has to come who doesn't want to, but he'll be there and their comrades will be there. Almost nobody steps back from it, and they all go to Poland. Six Months later they're Bayoneting women in the street and kicking in doors to shoot people.

I recommend Ordinary Men, as linked above, for further reading. It goes into great depth on the story of how Reserve Police Battalion 101 went from average Joes to war criminals.

u/Gizortnik · 6 pointsr/KotakuInAction

It's not a mental condition, it's normal human psychology that technology has pathologized into a profit motive.

That should really be the most terrifying aspect of this. These are absolutely normal people who can be ushered forward by ideology to commit unspeakable horror.

u/zellman · 6 pointsr/polandball

> Flirting with fascism

I think you meant flirting with totalitarianism. America is very far away from Fascism, but it flirts with totalitarianism with those acts you mentioned.

But your point was not wrong. Have you ever read "Ordinary Men"? Basically, the guys who shot jews in cold blood were often just normal guys, no weird background, or even crazy views...things just got out of control.

u/landb4timethemovie · 6 pointsr/answers

Many of those responsible for the worst of the Nazi's atrocities, such as mass killings of Jews in Poland and Russia (e.g. rounding up all of the Jews men, women, and children in a particular Polish town ~3000 in all and shooting them), were members of reserve German police and could be considered "normal" citizens not really politically affiliated with the Nazi party. Many (not all) were from humble backgrounds, young, not very educated, not very wealthy and did regular police work until the Nazi party/Himmler reconfigured such reserves into death squad-like battalions carrying out extermination efforts.

The author of this one book I recently read went through hundreds of firsthand accounts from such complicit men to see how everyday Germans could possibly be swept into committing such horrible war crimes. As an Amazon review says, some factors included "cowardice, ideological indoctrination, loyalty to the battalion, and reluctance to force the others to bear more than their share of what each viewed as an excruciating duty." In one particular passage I remember, members of one of these death squad battalions were told that participation in another one of these mass murders was not mandatory, was not forced, and the Germans were allowed to take some rest if they were not up to it this time around. Though like the quote above says, many of those who decided reluctantly to continue did so not because they were particularly geared up to do so out of faithfulness to the Nazi racial ideology or what have you, but because it was their duty within their battalion. Often on nights after having carried out such missions, commanders would allow/encourage draftees into drinking a lot to "forget."

Still, for me too, it's difficult to see from a modern point of view, just how almost an entire society could have sunken into savagery under Hitler. In the end, the implementation of the Final Solution rested on the complicity of the individual in playing their part and its difficult to say exactly why each person went along with it.

u/Patchknight · 6 pointsr/HistoryMemes

I'd suggest reading this book.

Your pop understanding of the Holocaust lacks nuance. Soldiers who refused to participate in war crimes were hardly 'Gestapo'd'. They were allowed to stay in the barracks - though they'd usually 'come around' due to peer pressure. People who criticized the Nazis were quietly deplatformed, but only radicals like antifascists and communists were black-bagged. Ghettos and cattle car shipments were public. Slave camps in Germany were adjacent to civilian centers to facilitate transportation.

The extinction of the untermensch was a popular directive in Germany. People knew and believed and acquiesced not under the jackboot'd pressure of tyranny but out of the logical conclusion of fascism.

u/Syjefroi · 6 pointsr/worldnews

> But almost all of the Nazi command were fairly ordinary.

Interesting choice of words. A well known book was written about the folks far lower down the chain, the regular troops. Ordinary Men. It goes into where these guys came from, how they got through the gig, etc. Indeed, they were ordinary men, and they did extraordinarily evil things. Very much worth a read, it very methodically goes through the process of how regular folks got broken down to the point of committing terrible crimes.

u/HomoFerox_HomoFaber · 6 pointsr/todayilearned

King Leopold II to be specific.

And he devastated the Congo. This is a book everyone should read.

Also, this book is an essential read on "ordinary men" in a Nazi reserve batallion and how they coped with (or outright enjoyed) the tasks entrusted to them. Some ran away, some drank themselves to oblivion, severe depression, etc.

u/Blacksheep01 · 5 pointsr/HistoryPorn

What you wrote is only partially accurate. Check out Ordinary Men I recommend this book to everyone interested in the topic of how and why regular Germans participated in the Holocaust.

The reason I mention it here is that the batallion was asked to murder thousands of Jews, many agreed, yet multiple individuals refused and do you know what happened to them? Nothing, nothing at all, the Germans not only didn't punish those who refused, they weren't even looked down on. So it begs the question, how forced were German police units/soldiers? How much of the violence was driven by individuals? What if entire units refused? Some of those questions are unanswerable but the one answer provided in this work is compelling. That German soldiers could say "no" and they would not be punished.

u/-Cryptomaniac- · 5 pointsr/HistoryPorn

I cannot recommend reading this book enough


You should not be shocked that humans are capable of this. Chances are if it were you or me in that position, we would have done the same thing.

u/MichaelClarkeDuncan · 5 pointsr/neutralnews

Maybe to you, but plenty of the guys working in the death camps weren't people who signed up for that, many or most were just regular civil servants who didn't have a choice. It's easy to sit back on reddit and judge them, but the people working those death camps may be more like yourself than you're comfortable admitting. Ordinary Men by Browning is a good monograph on this topic. So you can say that I have the distinction of not willingly participating, but plenty of these participants we now look at as monsters weren't willing either, but they didn't have a choice. I'm not saying they're saints, but the situation isn't as easy as we would like to imagine.

u/Asshole_for_Karma · 4 pointsr/worldnews

Well how about we just assume Hitler killed a 'shit-ton' of people in gas chambers and furnaces? Is that a number we can agree on?

And while there is some lack of concrete evidence, we can assume that the number 6 million was not pulled out of a historian's ass.

For instance, reports written by camp guards or death squads that survived the massive paper-shredding that the Nazis performed at the end of the war? See the book Ordinary Men for just one regiment's recounting of the 'Final Solution'.

u/missginj · 4 pointsr/AskHistorians

Christopher Browning, Ordinary Men. How did the Nazi regime get ordinary men to commit genocide? A fascinating, compelling, sometimes horrifying read. The words and experiences of the men of Reserve Police Battalion 101 (which was assigned to Nazi-occupied Poland), gleaned from 1960s interrogations, are very present and alive in the text.

u/SplendourFalls · 4 pointsr/AskHistorians

The way you've phrased this question caught my attention, and I'd like to point you in the direction of what I think is one of the most important books ever written about the Second World War:

Ordinary Men by Christopher Browning tries to explain how a group of apolitical middle-aged men who weren't even professional soldiers, guys who had reached adulthood long before Hitler took power, men who weren't particularly anti-Semitic and didn't vote for the Nazis, became enthusiastic executioners of thousands upon thousands of Jews.

The process that turned law-abiding, conscientious citizens into murderers was an intricate and subtle process and cannot and never will be explained by simplifications like 'brainwashing' or 'the Nazis were all psychopaths', and that's the point Browning tries to get at in his book.

There are other books like Daniel Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners which argue that Germans have always been hell-bent on the elimination of the Jewish race since the beginning of time which will answer your question in a way that will make you feel much more comfortable, if that's what you want. If not, Browning's your man.

u/TheGuineaPig21 · 4 pointsr/canada

Yes, actually. First of all the SS was a volunteer force (before 1943, when conscripts started to be transferred into the Waffen SS). The Einsatzgruppen were also volunteers-only. Furthermore, because of psychological casualties among units tasked with carrying out mask executions, it was common to transfer out of these units on request. Participating in mass executions was typically voluntary. Ordinary Men is an excellent history about a police battalion that was used as an execution unit which goes into a lot of the details about this.

Finally, there is not a single recorded instance of a German serviceman being executed for refusing to kill a civilian. (need jstor to read it)

This notion that individual Germans were somehow not at fault for joining the SS, joining mobile death squads, and then executing Jews/Poles/POWs/"partisans" whatever is mind-boggling

u/owlie_ · 4 pointsr/MorbidReality

Oh, you once read? Well then it must be true.

u/hobbes305 · 3 pointsr/skeptic

>Do you have any non-Jewish sources?

I linked to the The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) website above. that isn't good enough for you?

United States Library of Congress: Nuremberg Trials

Ordinary Men : Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland, New York, by Christopher Browning

u/LessQQMorePewPew · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

One of my favorite holocaust books is Ordinary Men link and is about a battalion of the Order Police and their experience in Poland. Some enjoyed killing, some were indifferent, some hated it and did it anyway, a few refused to do it, and then there were the Lithuanians.

u/LaunchThePolaris · 3 pointsr/worldnews

This is a pretty good book on that subject.

u/killyouintheface · 3 pointsr/buccos

> …whoever wrote Guns of the South.

Harry Turtledove.

Mostly I read war stuff. Storm of Steel, The Guns of August, shit like that. I really, really want to read this. Think it'll probably be my next Amazon purchase since I've given up finding it at the used store.

u/lsop · 3 pointsr/HistoryPorn

The Book you are talking about is Ordinary Men by Chris Browning

u/Whiskeyjack1989 · 3 pointsr/JordanPeterson

The book is Ordinary Men.

u/tirril · 3 pointsr/worldnews

Not being able to stomach it is something that changes over time. This should be part of history curriculum perhaps as soon as high school. Read Ordinary Men

u/randysgoiter · 3 pointsr/JoeRogan

I'm in the middle of Homo Deus currently. Its great so far, Yuval is a great writer and his books are a lot more accessible than traditional history books. I'm sure there are a lot of liberties taken with some of the history but I think Sapiens is a must-read. Homo Deus is more assumption based on current reality but its very interesting so far.

Gulag Archipelago is one I read based on the recommendation of Jordan Peterson. Awesome book if you are into WW1-WW2 era eastern europe. being an eastern european myself, i devour everything related to it so this book tickled my fancy quite a bit. good look into the pitfalls of what peterson warns against.

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning is another history book discussing that time period and how it all transpired and the lesser known reasons why WW2 went down the way it did. some surprising stuff in that book related to hitler modeling europe around how the united states was designed at the time.

apologies for inundating with the same topic for all my books so far but Ordinary Men is an amazing book chronicling the people that carried out most of the killings during WW2 in Poland, Germany and surrounding areas. The crux of the argument which I have read in many other books is that Auschwitz is a neat little box everyone can picture in their head and assign blame to when in reality most people killed during that time were taken to the outskirts of their town and shot in plain sight by fellow townspeople, mostly retired police officers and soldiers no longer able for active duty.

for some lighter reading i really enjoy jon ronson's books and i've read all of them. standouts are So You've Been Publicly Shamed and The Psychopath Test. Highly recommend Them as well which has an early Alex Jones cameo in it.

u/TheSwellFellow · 3 pointsr/ShitWehraboosSay

Easy one is Ordinary Men by Christopher Browning

Another good one is Becoming Evil by James Waller

BOTH of these directly address "normal" soldiers killing massive numbers of civilians. They will destroy any Wehraboo.

Also the Third Reich Trilogy by Richard Evans... Anything by Ian Kershaw.

u/Vitalstatistix · 3 pointsr/politics

I'd like to see your source on that story. I was taught by this man, and I distinctly remember numerous discussions on the topic, and that Nazi soldiers weren't punished for not killing Jews or any of the other persecuted individuals. The Nazi command who set the policy on these matters, viewed the extermination of Jews/Gypsies/Gays etc. as a difficult but necessary task; they simultaneously felt pity for, and glorified their soldiers, who were heroes doing what was best for the Aryan nation by squashing out the succubus races/nations of individuals.

So, while there was definitely strong social pressure to kill in order to fit in, move up the ranks, etc., there wasn't any formal military policy on punishing those who did not feel up to the task, which is one of the more frightening aspects of the whole situation.

Read more:


u/MuffinMedic · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

Ordinary Men by Christopher Browning does a really great job of explaining much of what was done to the Jews over time.

u/beebMeUp · 3 pointsr/HistoryPorn

Timeless question indeed. Dehumanization is a necessary condition but it's deeper than that alone. Inside each of us lurks this beast.

I recommend Ordinary Men by Christopher Browning. There's also a recent lecture on the topic.

u/_boomer · 2 pointsr/politics

While that might be true...

Other people have historically believed to the same thing only to realize with great horror that they are being shot at by their own armed forces.

I would like to hear your explanation on military ethics and the Laws of War, and why that would effectively prevent what he described from happening.

While high-brow theory is certainly interesting, what he described is essentially human nature/psychology supported by history.
Ordinary Men

u/dredla · 2 pointsr/morbidquestions

There’s a book called Ordinary Men that delves deep into this. But yes, yes there were.

u/jamon51 · 2 pointsr/IAmA

Another parallel work is "Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland" by Christopher R. Browning.

I think everybody should read one of these books, so they understand the consequence of "going along."

u/Myhouseishaunted · 2 pointsr/gifs

Read this:
Ordinary Men

u/artofwelding · 2 pointsr/history

I've not read this, but a good friend did and loved it. Ordinary Men.

u/Deflangelic · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

I would recommend reading [Ordinary Men] ( a book that uses the narrative about a group of ordinary Germans from all walks of life committed some of the worst atrocities of the Holocaust: many Jews were not killed in chambers (the final solution) where their screams could be ignored. These "ordinary men" were forced to take jews out of villages and shoot them in cold blood, even infants.

The author uses it as a cautionary tale of the horrors of brainwashing propaganda and war; how average joes can be convinced that what they're doing is ok because it is sanctioned by a higher authority and therefor rationalize it to themselves. For more on that you can read about Milgram's psychological experiments, described in [Obedience to Authority] ( In the 1950s people were insisting that the Holocaust was a strictly German thing, that it happened once and never again. Milgram proved that most Americans would be willing to inflict pain on others to the point of death (they truly thought the actor was being killed by shocks) as long as some authority sanctioned it. He showed that even in our "good country" if an authority figure tells you to do something, you place all responsibility on him and become willing to kill. Afterwards participants would say things like "I felt bad for hurting the guy so bad, but I wanted to do my job well" and things like that.

People have always been quick to deny involvement, or claim to be just doing their small part. It's complacency towards hate that leads to these atrocities, not millions of hateful people.

u/Tootenbacher · 2 pointsr/The_Donald

I've just ordered Christopher Browning's Ordinary Men: Amazon

The Rape of Nanking: Amazon

FYI, I just provided links so you could look them up quickly - I don't have any Amazon affiliation or anything.

I should have waited to finalize my order, because now I want to buy the book you mentioned as well.

u/Sitting_in_Cube · 2 pointsr/videos

Its vast majority situational. I worked in the meat industry for a while and a lot of the guys have to develop a sense of humor about it cause it fucks with you a little. Gleefully can also be a coping mechanism, very few people are truly screwed up. This is a good book about it.

u/magniatude · 2 pointsr/worldnews
u/rkk2 · 2 pointsr/history

The only thing I can recommend is Ordinary Men by Dan Browning.

u/berberine · 2 pointsr/pics

Very true. I can't imagine trying to have children read Ordinary Men. Anne Frank is a much better introduction.

u/Errant_Tree · 1 pointr/StarWars

Well I have to comment on this opinion of yours as well.

The average soldier did not enjoy the killings they were ordered to do, and many were able to opt out of the killings. I'd read Ordinary Men. Very enlightening on the psychological effects on the soldiers.

u/ifurmothronlyknw · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook

Christopher R. Browning. This book basically explains how any one of us, if had lived through nazi Germany, we also would have committed this horrible crimes. I took a course on holocaust in college, this book was basically the thesis of the class. It really affected me.

u/mnemosyne-0002 · 1 pointr/KotakuInAction

Archives for the links in comments:

u/elkoubi · 1 pointr/worldnews

Decisions about punishment aside, the point isn't that since they are human we must treat them humanely in their punishment, but rather that we must recognize that we all have this sort capacity.

u/Enghave · 1 pointr/JordanPeterson

>Not ordinary men.

Traumatised by war, sure, unlike most modern men in the West today, but nearly all men are ordinary in the sense of this book Ordinary Men.

u/Autorotator · 1 pointr/StreetFights

Too true, but 'subhuman' is a great insult for animalistic behavior.

I am a huge proponent of people reading Ordinary Men when people start to think there is no darkness inside them.

What makes us human is not answering that primal call over stupid shit. What makes us animal is that we all have it in us.

u/theanswar · 1 pointr/Columbus

Nice to see you get it. The airline fees and bag limitations are truly towards your comment on choice, and the private entity has the right to impose those, or give you the choice to shop elsewhere. It isn't violating your rights in imposing those fees or limitations on you (this is for others reading this thread, not you). With the assumption of a threat simply for booking an air flight to go visit granny, we're really losing our rights, and it's not something we should go through.

As for the doing your job, I just read a book on the 101 Police Police Battalion and the choices they made/had to do their job. Sad when people alter their essence to do a job.

u/Rhabarberbarbara · 1 pointr/europe

Browning's Ordinary Men. We read that in school.

> For example some german policemen in Hamburg were sure jews need tools and other things with them as they were supposed to bulid houses for themselves there.

They were of course supposed to round them up and shoot them.

u/its · 1 pointr/maninthehighcastle

Have you read “Ordinary Men” ? It describes very well the banality of evil?

u/fluffybunnydeath · 1 pointr/wow

Wow. What a horribly unnuanced opinion. I'd recommend some reading on the topic. Perhaps the best book is Christopher Browning's "Ordinary Men". If reading is too difficult for such a narrow minded person, then maybe watch Battlestar Galactica, it deals with similar situations in a much better way than "kill them all" (in fact, the show acknowledges that such a method of dealing with issues causes those issues to become reoccurring themes).

u/J11Wars · 1 pointr/Battlefield

It’s a pretty broad statement but I’d be happy to share my reasoning.

The last one is pretty important because it’s an example of the exception to the rule, a German who was disgusted by what his countrymen allowed.

You also have to remember that complicity isn’t all equal. I’m not saying all germans were killers or even necessarily active in their antisemitism. The holocaust led to the coining of the phrase “the banality of evil.”

I could tell you that the fact that Hitler was elected into power or that millions joined his party was enough. I could tell you that the fact that so few fought back within Germany is evidence. But really all that it took was for the majority to simply allow and accept if not condone the mass atrocities.

I’ll leave you with this book:

This is perhaps the most damning evidence we have that the average German knew enough to know what was happening, and that it was overwhelmingly accepted by them.

There’s also this:

I believe that his thesis that antisemitism was uniquely German is flawed but his arguments and evidence for an existence of virulent antisemitism embedded in the German national identity is pretty clear.

Edit: this article is also pretty interesting.

u/Cletusanthes · 1 pointr/ShitWehraboosSay

There's a really good book examining this concept in detail:

u/HudsonsirhesHicks · 1 pointr/AntifascistsofReddit
u/NeoM5 · 1 pointr/worldnews

It's not about standing up to the Gestapo. It's about the fact that the Nazis were actually quite willing to transfer guards out of the camps. I wouldn't let this one example change an otherwise accepted fact. SS participating in the einsatzgruppen were allowed to leave the force. This book widely documents the cognitive dissonance experienced by members of the SS and how their revisionist memory (I tried to leave, I didn't want to kill) is false. If soldiers did not want to partake, they were mostly dissuaded from putting in serious efforts to leave because they learned to adapt to the few willing killers around them.

u/TheCommonCow · 1 pointr/

I doubt that he actually joined him, as several people have pointed out most historians think this too, but were many instances of German police (generally it was the 'police' and not the army that carried out these killings). A good read on the subject is Ordinary Men by Christopher Browning.

u/atero · 1 pointr/gifs

It's been well established:

Following orders is not an excuse for committing war crimes. There are multiple documented instances of Germans refusing to take part in executions and saying they couldn't stomach it, and not being severely punished.

This is a good source for the mentality of German war criminals here:

u/Catnip123 · 1 pointr/europe

On a related note, I read (I think it was in Christopher Browning's "Ordinary Men" ) how the Nazi soldiers reacted when first encountering those Jewish communities during their invasion of Poland.
Like, those Polish Jews actually looked exactly like those caricatures which the propaganda had fed them for years, while German Jews mostly looked and dressed like regular Germans.
Many soldiers were flabbergasted that those people actually existed- and believed that this means that probably everything else the propaganda had told them about the Jews had to be true just as well.
It was then that their leadership was seriously developing plans that lead to the genocide a.k.a. "Endlösung"

u/Natemick · 1 pointr/history

This books is excellent if you're interested in reading more on the topic. Some of it is absolutely stomach churning and unbelievably disturbing to give a fair warning, but an excellent account of the extent of the atrocities and the toll it took on both the victims and the people perpetrating them.

u/DarthFluttershy_ · 1 pointr/GoldandBlack

Cops are "ordinary" people. This is a pity because ordinary people make terrible cops. Ordinary people succumb to peer pressure, corrupt culture, and self-interest if not kept in check. But to be fair, there are precious few truly good people on the planet. Worse, decent people don't want good people around when they do bad things, for precisely that reason. Good people who become cops therefore don't stick around long. This is why expecting the police to be angels is insane, and the police propaganda that pervades our society is extremely harmful.

In the most extreme case study on such an issue, 2.4% of police sent to Poland by the nazis refused to shoot Jews (see link or this article). As far as I can tell, there was no special selection process to ensure high levels of compliance. 20% got sick during the shooting process. The rest were easily able to acclimate to being monsters. These results are roughly equivalent to Milgram's famous shock experiment, though with much higher and direct stakes.

In sum, there's no way to make police good, only ways to make them accountable. Thus the problem starts at the top, which is failing.

u/Derazchenflegs · 1 pointr/news

Why assume anything? Why not look at reality, case by case?

You skipped over the “under the right circumstances” part. Of course one doesn’t just wake up a murderer one day... but you’re fooling yourself, if you believe there’s no set of circumstances that will drive people towards violence, even extreme acts. The people described in this book are probably a clear example, but I think we’d easily find more recent, less Godwin-ish examples.

Note that I’m not trying to justify the behavior, merely explain it, look at what causes it. Should go without saying, still probably worth pointing out.

u/ProdigalSkinFlutist · 1 pointr/history

Ordinary Men, Browning

German first hand perspective on execution.

u/redrosebeetle · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

In Christopher Browning's [Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland] ( he depicts the response of Police Battalion 101 to participating in the genocide of European Jews using testimony from their post-war trials. Nearly every member, including the Battalion commander, showed signs of regret or PTSD, according to Browning.

u/drakesylvan · 0 pointsr/worldnews

Old man following orders who admits he did some wrong, "we must punish him!" He's 93, what are you going to do? Put him in prison for a year before he dies?

I suggest everyone read Ordinary Men by Chris Browning. It will open your mind to the lives of the SS and other Nazi members during the war. One of the best books on this subject.

You know what happened to those who didn't follow orders under the Nazis? They killed you, threatened your family, and sometimes put you in with their enemies. If you were labeled a Jewish sympathizer, it could be just as bad a fate as the Jews in Poland.

u/ih8yallmore · 0 pointsr/funny

They weren't outsiders. They were part of the community, they were fully assimilated and were making great contributions to society under the moors but when the Catholics retook the Iberian peninsula, they changed the status of Jews.

Yes, I did tell you to go to Church. The principle place for anti-antisemitism in the United States (if that's where you are) is in the evangelical church, who just so happen to fund the Jews for Jesus movement. You may not realize but you are a part of group that seeks to destroy Jews, Judaism and everything that I am. So yes, I called you an anti-Semite. Go to church and pray. Your faith is bullshit. and I am calling it like I see it. Throw all the scripture from the new testament that you want but I have read more the TNK in the original language than you can fathom. I am comfortable in knowing that you believe in a MAN that never existed.

And, not once have you refuted me arguments regarding reasoning for anti-semitic acts.
Go read a few books on this:

Ordinary Men
brief lesson

I am not going to take religious advice or even academic advice from someone who doesn't have a PhD in their name or a degree from a religious institution that carries some weight.

u/PinkHatPurpleNipples · -4 pointsr/streetwear

If you'd like an intellectual discussion, I'm all for it, but you don't know enough about me to claim that I am bigoted or anything equally as reprehensible. If you think that you're going to change anyone's mind by typing "lmfao" as many times as possible, then you need to orient yourself and discover your true virtues as an individual instead of using manipulative language for dramatic effect.

> you literally tried comparing the guys 'intentions' to Stalin

Your critical thinking skills are lacking; I drew parallels between intention and action and used idealistic Marxist ideologies as an example of how they can be dangerous when misaligned.

> I'm commenting right now, to shut you the fuck up.

Your intentions are that you're trying to be as boisterous and obstinate as possible to attempt to shut me down without a single sound argument on your side. You lack fundamental understanding of the humanities and haven't educated yourself enough to present yourself as anymore than an uncompromising ideologue with weak rhetoric.

If you really want to sort yourself out, here's a quick reading list: