Ordinary Men By Christopher Browning: Summary

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When I think of horrific events that have happened in history I often think of the people who committed the crimes. Usually those people are awful savages who were emotionless. They kill innocent people for pleasure and treat them like animals while doing so. These attributes usually get pinned on said groups of people because we ourselves like to believe that humans are not capable of doing such horrific things. Christopher Browning shows us an example of a group of normal men who committed terrible crimes. He also offers insight on who the men really were in their lives before the war.

The book begins with Browning giving us statistics on the Holocaust in Poland. He reinforces the fact that most of the killing happened in Poland which required
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Next we are told about the how other Police Battalions were involved in the slaughter of Soviet Jews. Hitler started to not take prisoners, but to execute every Jew. To portray how some Germans were evil he talked about an incident in which German soldiers urinated on their Jewish captives. He continues to go into detail about different mass killings in Europe of Jews. Browning then tells us about the socioeconomic status of the men in the Battalion. They consisted mostly of middle aged men of working class from Hamburg. This is one of the reasons why the book is called Ordinary Men because most of the men committing the atrocities were just you and me. Normal people from normal socioeconomic backgrounds who were peer pressured into commenting crimes only attributed to psychopaths. Most men did it because they feared being ostrichsized by the other men. Many others used the excuse, I did it because I was …show more content…
This could have been an anomaly that their commanding officer allowed them to choose if they wanted to kill. I still found it interesting that it included that the soldiers were given the choice from the first action . Browning was very original in that he is the first author I have read who attempts to understand why perpetrators in the Holocaust acted as they did. He did not generalize every Nazi into one large group of evil people. He explained that these killers could have been anyone. The story also flowed well too. I was afraid that it would feel disjointed due to all of the facts needed in order to prove his point. Fortunately the story went along well and made the reading very easy.

I enjoyed reading the Ordinary Men. It had a very authentic feel. Browning was successful in supporting his thesis and proving it to be true. He showed that many of the men were really just ordinary men. I loved how he went in depth to show how not all Germans were savages. Unfortunately though, he is an outlier in his writing because not many who like to say that those who kill innocent people are not all bad. This is a great read because of how different it is from most books about the

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