Chapter

Why Did They Kill?

Donald Bloxham

in The Final Solution

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780199550333
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191701535 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199550333.003.0009

Series: Oxford Histories

Why Did They Kill?

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Personnel policy was under the control of Wilhelm Stuckart, a Nazi lawyer who stood as state secretary and represented the Ministry at the Wannsee conference. Stuckart required that the people who would be working as administrators internalize and understand the implications and interconnections involved in the Nazi project. Focus shifted from traditional social and professional hierarchies to the Leistungsprinzip which embodied ability and concrete achievement and advocated organizational fluidity and initiative. Analyzing man’s acts instead of the man himself meant studying these acts in the context of a socio-political system, since acts represent logic that is coherent with the direction of the system. The notion of someone being ‘innocent’ did not mean they were indirect beneficiaries of the genocide, as the Germans established a very complex state-system. This chapter looks into the kinds of human behavior that could have entailed the genocide, compares this with other attempts at genocide, and studies the basis for exception.

Keywords: Wilhelm Stuckart; Nazi project; innocent; man; Leistungsprinzip; state-system; genocide; exception

Chapter.  13979 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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