By Enzo Traverso
In the half-century because the visual appeal of Hannah Arendt’s seminal paintings The Origins of Totalitarianism, innumerable historians have designated the historical past of the Nazi years. Now, in an excellent synthesis of this paintings, Enzo Traverso situates the extermination camps because the ultimate, bad second in ecu modernity’s industrialization of killing and dehumanization of demise. Traverso upends the traditional presentation of the Holocaust as an inexplicable anomaly, navigating an far more than antecedents either technical and cultural. Deftly tracing a posh lineage—the guillotine and computing device gun, the criminal and meeting line, in addition to frequent ideologies of racial supremacy and colonial expansion—Traverso finds that the guidelines that coalesced at Auschwitz got here from Europe’s mainstream and never its margins.
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Additional resources for The Origins of Nazi Violence
In COntrast to the imperialist view of the colonized, Nazism did not regard the Jews as a backward, savage, primitive people or one that was incapable of surviving the onward march of progress. It considered them not as an archaic element that had lingered on the path of civilization but as civilization's enemy. ' oo In July 194 , at the 1 beginning of the war against the USSR, the minister of propaganda produced an article reiterating his view of the German ONQUEST 75 . c " . " h' the soldiers of the Reich were the saVIOrs mission.
This, Caillois insisted, · wanare. £ ' ' ' 22 was "the en d 0fh erolC The enemy, dehumanized, became invisible. He was close b but hidden in his trench. 23 "Hand-tohand fighting is a thing of the past," Jean Norton Cru stressed, having analyzed the testimony of veterans. " 24 Very often death was dealt, not by an enemy of flesh and blood, but by an impersonal, cold, alien, hostile machine. 25 It was brought by mechanical monsters (tanks, planes, heavy artillery), by gas discharged by chemical weapons, or by flame throwers.
In 1907, British military handbooks were confidently declaring that even the most modern rifles would never bear comparison with the speed and "magnetism" of a cavalry charge. 11 In 1914, a soldier's equipment differed hardly at all from that of the first half of the nineteenth century: officers' uniforms testified to preoccupations with aesthetics rather than function, and soldiers did not yet wear helmets (not until the following year were these introduced by all armies). The firepower of machine guns had certainly been tested in Africa at the time of the colonial wars , but the racist prejudices of the military leaders had prevented them from drawing full conclusions from the experience.