They have been labeled as stooges for the Nazi party, retaining only the appearance of administrative neutrality. At the same time, the German civil service has been accused of blindly following the criminal orders of the Nazi leadership, acquiescing so long as the order bore the vaguest semblance to the letter of the law.
Neither extreme was in fact the case. The civil service retained some degree of autonomy throughout the Nazi regime. From that time on, in the main, the aim was to turn officials in to Nazis instead of turning Nazis into officials. Early on, the bureaucrats did cater to one demand of the Nazi state. Nevertheless, this low-grade later it would become more virulent racism coupled with careerism spelled a quick exit for non-Aryans from the civil service. Widespread endorsement of the ousting of Jews is evident in the diary of Thomas Mann, the Nobel prize winning German author.
Marion Kaplan writes in Between Dignity and Despair that though married to a Jewish woman, and a staunch anti-Nazi, "he nevertheless confided to his diary: They were frightening because their motivation often derived not from extraordinary Nazi ideology, but from the oridinary desire to preserve and promote their positions.
The Topography of Terror. Mass deportations and murder could not begin immediately. First, the Jews, once fully assimilated members of German society, had to be turned into non-citizens, and ultimately into non-humans. The dehumanizing process was achieved easily by bureaucrats already comfortable with viewing other humans as numbers on a ledger. All that remains are the foundation and cellar walls that enclosed a kitchen. The exhibit and memorial is perhaps unique in that it is a remembrance of the perpetrators.
Memorials to the victims of the Nazis are to be found throughout Germany and Berlin, but remembering the victims of the Nazi past and acknowledging that Germans were the perpetrators of these crimes is quite different. To varying degrees Germany has memorialized the victims of Nazi terror, although it has often equated the suffering of Germans with the marginalized social groups Jews, Scinta and Roma, Homosexuals, etc.
How much the general population knew of the crimes being committed is debatable, although clearly most Berliners were aware that their Jewish friends and neighbors were not on holiday. In part this was due to a conscious or sub-conscious desire on the part of Germans to disassociate themselves from the perpetrators. Germans were--and remain--more open to accept their role as victims and witnesses to the atrocities of the Nazi regime than to confess their role as the perpetrators.
Within a few years after the National Socialists seized power, the entire "Prinz-Albrecht-Terrain" was occupied by these Nazi organizations. The area housed the offices of Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich, the state and party security forces and the Gestapo prison. Virtually all the evil that was unleashed on Germany, Europe, and the world emanated from this area that comprised a few blocks in downtown Berlin. Order and Function of the Bureaucracy of Terror.
According to Topography of Terror: In other words, the SS were chartered with the main objectives Hitler envisioned for National Socialism. Himmler was in charge of a vast bureaucratic empire. He was responsible for the SS , as well as the municipal police. Heydrich was the head of both organizations.
Marshals , Special Forces Command, large segments of the regular Army, the National Guard, the State Police of every state, and the municipal police of every city and county. Himmler sat atop a massive bureaucracy. One result of the consolidation of power was infighting between the various bureaus under Himmler.
As an example, which could almost be funny if not for the inhumanity of it, the different security offices and police departments often made use of the same jail facility at the Prinz-Albrecht terrain.
The jail was nominally a temporary holding facility. Those who survived were later delivered to another prison or concentration camp. When a bureaucrat felt that a detainee held some piece of vital information they would request that the prisoner be brought to their office for interrogation. Although all that remains of these institutions is the earthen floor and cellar walls, suggesting a medieval dungeon with torture chambers, all interrogations were held on the above ground levels, in the civilized offices of the bureaucrats.
With secretaries and stenographers within earshot, officials would sit on the edge of their mahogany desks and direct their subordinates to torture their victims until the right information was obtained. Torture and brutal mistreatment of the prisoners was commonplace, and was as often performed for sport as it was to extract information or to punish.
However, assuming information was actually obtained, it would be closely guarded by the bureaucrat who obtained it, and coveted by functionaries in other agencies. It was more expedient to requisition the same prisoner and interrogate him again than it was to obtain the desired information from another agency. Both inhumane and inefficient, such redundancies revealed that German bureaucracy was far from the ideal imagined by Max Weber.
Breakthroughs in science and medicine led to a dramatic reduction in the occurrence of death as an every day phenomenon. As death became an increasingly rare, albeit inevitable occurrence, it became even more ineffable. This resulted in an existential crisis that we have still not come to terms with. Peukert argues that this "led to an idealization of youth and health. Those elements that were identified as curable were cured.
Those elements that were unhealthy were to be excised. Those who were once proponents of the needy became their enemies with the change in government.
Its Extent and Form. What the book did promote however, was the concept that human life which could not contribute materially to society was worthless. On a cold, overcast day in December, I made a trip out to the Wannsee, a beautiful lake to the south-west of Berlin.
As I rode the train through the Grunewald forest on my way to Wannsee, I wondered how many of the officials came by train. Did they travel the same line that I did? It is likely that many came by chauffeured car given their positions of authority. The suburban train station at Wannsee appeared quite old and little changed since the war.
While waiting for the bus that would take me the rest of the way to the Villa I had the opportunity to look out over the placid lake. Marinas, parks, and grand mansions dotted the shoreline. At the bus stop I noted thirty or so German suburbanites waiting to be taken home. Some were waiting to go to the hospital that was less than a kilometer from the infamous Villa.
I appeared to be the only tourist. It was a perfectly ordinary town. The area around the Villa at Wannsee is and was a rather idyllic suburb.
The impressionist painter Max Lieberman had his summer house there. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the area was known for the liberal attitudes of its residents which included a fair number of Jews.
In the winter the place is very quiet, but the number of closed recreational sites would suggest that the place is quite lively in the summer. The Villa itself is a gorgeous mansion and garden that was acquired by the Nazis for use by senior party members. Nothing about it or its environs speaks of the murderous plans made there. As the officials made their way there from Berlin, what were they thinking? Did they jump at the chance to get away from the daily grind and to meet with their colleagues out in the country?
Was it an honor to be invited? With the exception of Reinhard Heydrich Chief of Reich Security , these were not the most senior officials in Germany. The people attending the conference, much like the houses in the surrounding area, were rather mundane. They were civilized in appearance and quite unremarkable. Except for Heydrich, the attendees were of a rank equivalent to that of deputy under-secretary. In other words, they were middle managers. Middle managers are the epitomical bureaucrats.
They lack the responsibility and the blame of their superiors, but neither must they dirty their hands. This plea was made by many Nazis seeking to avoid harsh punishment for facilitating genocide, an approach which was to prove successful for many middle- and low-ranking Nazi officials. Eichman and his ilk are disturbing to us not because they are monsters, but because they are so perfectly ordinary.
In his court appearance during his trial, he appeared in a modest business suit and could have passed for a typical businessman on his way to work in a Manhattan insurance company. His defense rested on his inability to refuse orders. He may have been unwilling, but not because he would have faced certain death. In his book Ordinary Men , Christopher Browning explains that many of those on the frontlines of the Holocaust, the men in the Order Police battalions which operated in German occupied countries in the East, were typical Germans.
Prior to the war they were not homicidal maniacs, nor were they especially anti-Semitic or even eager Nazis. Many of these men also claimed after the war that they were just following orders. Browning clearly demonstrates that their refusal to carry out orders might have been disastrous for their careers, but, in the cases he examines, never led to severe punishment.
The SS ensured that outright resistance to National Socialism was negligible, but refusal to participate in murder was tolerated.
In , SA storm troopers established the first concentration camp in Prussia at Oranienburg. The camp was not the largest or the most lethal Auschwitz claims that title , but it was the administrative center of the concentration camp system. In the T-Building located just a few hundred meters from the camp proper, bureaucrats administered the entire concentration camp system: Like Wannsee, Oranienburg is a quiet suburb.
A quaint housing development abuts the camp; many houses make use of the old concentration camp razor wire fence to keep their children and pets from wandering outside the yard.
On the day that I visited, I saw a woman walking her two little terriers on the grounds of the concentration camp. Even while visiting the barracks where unhygienic conditions were once as deadly as the hangings from meat hooks in the crematorium basement, the terror of the place is not immediately apparent.
Yet, in this place techniques for murder were tried and tested. In the infirmary, medical experiments of dubious scientific merit were carried out on the prisoners. One case involves children who were saved from the ovens at Auschwitz and delivered to Sachsenhausen where they were infected with a hepatitis virus. Their livers were later biopsied, without the use of anesthetic, to see how the disease progressed. While female prisoners were brought in for use as sex slaves, while prisoners marched endlessly, and often to their deaths, on the shoe-testing track, and while the ovens burned furiously, the bureaucrats came to work each day to shuffle papers and organize further torments.
Meanwhile, in the surrounding houses, the local suburbanites went about their daily lives, much as they do today. Comparisons between the Holocaust and other mass murders are generally wanting. Ships from and sold by Amazon. Customers who bought this item also bought.
Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. The History and Future of Famine. How to win the corporate game. Apply martial arts techniques, game theory and enlightenment philosophy to reach your full potential and climb the career ladder. Building a Stronger Resistance in the Age of Trump. Be the change you want to see in the world, because nonviolent action is the key to fixing our politics now. You can be part of the resistance!
A Philosophy of Nature. The Passive Income Playbook: Discover the most powerful way to make passive income. Then use it to make money for the rest of your life! Discover the daily habits to stop worrying, relieve stress, overcome anxiety and create mindfulness in your life! What Happened to Greece An informed tale of the ongoing Greek crisis. Review "[The] best book on famine available--important theoretical perspective, good case-study material.
Miller, Cornell University "Embodies the best tradition of social science Empirical and rational, yet neither virtue is pushed to the point where human beings are forgotten.
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Please try again later. Hunger and poverty are not regional or national issues any more. This book literally changed the way people thought about famines and hunger, according to Robert Solow. Human beings are deprived of food in many ways. Sen points out that food availability dedcline is only one possible cause of occurrence of a famine. Famines can occur even if the food output is sufficient in a region, for example in a situation when certain groups of people become richer and purchase more food leading to a steep rise in the prices, while the poor find the food increasingly unaffordable.
Sen conceptualizes these issues in the framework of entitlement and ownership. A famine occurs when a large number of people in a country or a region suffer from such entitlement failures at a same time. In the second chapter, Sen discusses two alternative methods to measure poverty - the Income method and the Direct method.
Both methods essentially represent two alternative conceptions of poverty analysis. The inequality approach to poverty is also found to be very common.
Can poverty analysis be put into a policy framework? Sen answers this question in the negative pointing out its difficulties. Sen says that a policy definition is based on a fundamental confusion. But at the same time, Sen fails to answer the question of how then the problem can be solved. Famine Enquiry Commission of had argued that the famine was due to cyclones, floods, fungus diseases, loss of Burma rice, etc.
The essence of these theses was that the famine was mainly an outcome of a food shortage. Sen in his analysis of the famine contests this. Point by point, with the use of statistics on food production and other parameters, he states that although there was a decline in food output in Bengal in , it cannot be accepted as a prime cause as there was a still higher decline in food output during which did not cause any famine.
The per capita food availability in was also higher than that in The major cause of the famine was the inability of the British government to forecast the shortfall in food.
The major cause of the famine was shrinkage of the E-mappings for individuals resulting from spiraling food prices and the prevailing inequalities among the population. The situation was not different in the case of the Ethiopian famine of The overall consumption of food at the peak famine period was actually normal.
But the purchasing power of the people was low resulting in inability to command food from outside. As in the Bengal famine, the highest casualities were among the agricultural workers. But in contrast with Bengal famine, the food prices rose only very little in Ethiopia and were not very different from those prevailing during the pre-drought periods. Sen explains this phenomenon by understanding it in terms of the entitlement failures of various sections of the Ethiopian population.
The next case study is that of Sahel famine in Africa during This resulted in the decline of food availability that eventually led to the famine. An analysis of region wise food output revealed that in the regions where the output was low, the effect of the famine was actually lower comparatively.
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