Belonging and Genocide
Hitler's Community, 1918-1945
Yale University Press 2013
New Books in European StudiesNew Books in Genocide StudiesNew Books in German StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network December 23, 2014 Kelly McFall
As a teenager, I heard or read or saw (in films or on television) story after story about the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police. Despite the occasional ‘corrective’ offered by Hogan’s Heroes, the impression given was that the Gestapo were all knowing and ever present.
We now know differently, of course. But knowing that the Nazi state functioned as much or more through consensus as coercion has led historians to think again about the way in which this consensus was created and sustained. And it has produced a series of books addressing the question of what this consensus meant for policy making and execution.
Thomas Kuehne‘s fabulous new book has contributed greatly to this discussion. Belonging and Genocide: Hitler’s Community, 1918-1945 (Yale University Press, 2013), looks hard at the role belonging played in the emergence and success of the Nazi Party. He tells us how important the desire for a sense of community was in the way people responded to the the crises of the 20s and 30s. And he tells us how this desire for community shaped efforts to exclude people who were not part of the community, whether through isolation, removal, or destruction. It’s a great book.
Skype was not as cooperative as I would have liked during the interview and there’s a low buzz present at times. The sound is not ideal, but it shouldn’t be too disruptive, and Kuehne’s work and words are fascinating. So I hope you’ll give it a listen.You’ll be glad you did.