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A World Without Jews: The Nazi Imagination from Persecution to Genocide

15 Apr 2014-
TL;DR: In this paper, Confino draws on an array of archives across three continents to propose a penetrating new assessment of one of the central moral problems of the twentieth century: why the Nazis burned the Hebrew Bible everywhere in Germany on November 9, 1938.
Abstract: Why exactly did the Nazis burn the Hebrew Bible everywhere in Germany on November 9, 1938? The perplexing event has not been adequately accounted for by historians in their large-scale assessments of how and why the Holocaust occurred. In this gripping new analysis, Alon Confino draws on an array of archives across three continents to propose a penetrating new assessment of one of the central moral problems of the twentieth century. To a surprising extent, Confino demonstrates, the mass murder of Jews during the war years was powerfully anticipated in the culture of the prewar years. The author shifts his focus away from the debates over what the Germans did or did not know about the Holocaust and explores instead how Germans came to conceive of the idea of a Germany without Jews. He traces the stories the Nazis told themselves--where they came from and where they were heading--and how those stories led to the conclusion that Jews must be eradicated in order for the new Nazi civilization to arise. The creation of this new empire required that Jews and Judaism be erased from Christian history, and this was the inspiration--and justification--for Kristallnacht. As Germans imagined a future world without Jews, persecution and extermination became imaginable, and even justifiable.
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Book
31 Aug 2017
TL;DR: The authors investigated the long-term ramifications of civil war in emerging nations, drawing transnational comparisons with Switzerland, Italy and the United States, asking why compatriots were driven to take up arms against each other and what the underlying conflicts reveal about the course of German state-building.
Abstract: Reframing the German War of 1866 as a civil war, Making Prussians, Raising Germans offers a new understanding of critical aspects of Prussian state-building and German nation-building in the nineteenth century, and investigates the long-term ramifications of civil war in emerging nations. Drawing transnational comparisons with Switzerland, Italy and the United States, it asks why compatriots were driven to take up arms against each other and what the underlying conflicts reveal about the course of German state-building. By addressing key areas of patriotic activity such as the military, cultural memory, the media, the mass education system, female charity and political culture, this book elucidates the ways in which political violence was either contained in or expressed through centre-periphery interactions. Although the culmination of Prusso-German state-building in the Nazi dictatorship represented an exceptionally destructive outcome, the solutions developed previously established Prussian-led Germany as one of the most successful states in recovering from civil war.

64 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors analyse the role of excessive or "phantascistic" fantasies in the space of reasons in a long history of conflict in the Middle East and a shorter histo...
Abstract: Fantasies and especially excessive or ‘phantascistic’ fantasies, as they are referred to here, have the power to suppress within political communities, consciously and unconsciously alike, inner antagonisms in times of crisis. More precisely, they help to blur aporias within the ideological structures of a community through the evocation of a sensus communis (Kant) that establishes the community anew, similar to an act of religious conversion. Their impact on the space of reasons is analysed in this article as one that does not take part in the game of giving and asking for reasons, but operates in the background of communal reason via an emotionally and clandestine ‘code’ of what it means to be ‘We … – We who we are’. Next to theoretical elaborations of how and why these phantascistic fantasies are produced, the theory will be further explained through a series of exemplifications demonstrating the way that it has played out across a long history of conflict in the Middle East and a shorter histo...

16 citations


Cites background from "A World Without Jews: The Nazi Imag..."

  • ...Both fantasies succeeded, in a phantascistic manner, in concealing various inherent antagonisms of the German society during and after the failure of the Weimar Republic (see Confino 2014)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper focused on the complex interactions between Nazi Germany, local populations, and east European Jews during the Holocaust and drew connections between central and east-east European, German, Jewish, and Soviet histories, in order to engage with other fields and disciplines that examine modern mass violence and genocide.
Abstract: This historiographical review focuses on the complex interactions between Nazi Germany, local populations, and east European Jews during the Holocaust. Braving fierce historical revisionism in eastern Europe and the Baltic states, recent studies have shifted the spotlight from Germans to Poles, Ukrainians, Russians, Lithuanians, and other ethnicities. As a result, the analytic categories with which most historians still work – notably ‘perpetrator/victim/bystander’ and ‘collaboration/resistance’ – have outlived their usefulness. A more complex picture of the Nazi-occupied territories in eastern Europe has emerged and now awaits new theoretical frameworks. This article argues that past paradigms blinded scholars to a range of groups lost in the cracks and to behaviours remaining outside the political sphere. Through four criteria that shed light on the social history of the Holocaust in eastern Europe, it draws connections between central and east European, German, Jewish, and Soviet histories, in order to engage with other fields and disciplines that examine modern mass violence and genocide. As Holocaust studies stands at a crossroads, only a transnational history including all ethnicities and deeper continuities, both temporal and geographical, will enhance our knowledge of how social relations shaped the very evolution of the Holocaust.

13 citations

Book ChapterDOI
01 Jan 2019

11 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The skin is a body's largest organ and both a metaphor and a materiality as mentioned in this paper, it constitutes a person's exteriority through which and on which social meaning is negotiated and constructed.

9 citations