Christopher R. Browning is Frank Porter Graham Professor of History Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the author, most recently, of Remembering Survival: Inside a Nazi Slave-Labor Camp. (October 2015)

A New Vision of the Holocaust

A woman in the Jewish ghetto of Lodz, Poland, 1940–1944; from Memory Unearthed: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross, edited by Maia-Mari Sutnik, published by the Art Gallery of Ontario, and distributed by Yale University Press
How does Timothy Snyder’s Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning differ from previous histories of the Holocaust? Like many other historians, Snyder begins with a careful analysis of Hitler and his ideology, but he is not concerned with the broader, long-term context of German and European culture and …

When Europe Failed

German soldiers shaking hands with French volunteers bound for the front, July 1944
In the United States, World War II is generally remembered as the last “good war,” particularly in comparison to the dashed expectations and disillusionment following World War I and the domestic division and sense of futility accompanying the Vietnam and Iraq wars. World War II as a “good war” did …

How Envy of Jews Lay Behind It

The German industrialist and statesman Walther Rathenau, who was from a wealthy ­Jewish family, in the car in which he was assassinated in Berlin in June 1922
The historian George Mosse liked to tell a hypothetical story: if someone had predicted in 1900 that within fifty years the Jews of Europe would be murdered, one possible response would have been: “Well, I suppose that is possible. Those French or Russians are capable of anything.” Indeed, the wave …

How Ordinary Germans Did It

German soldiers captured by American forces, Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, France, June 1944
Growing consciousness of the Holocaust in both academic scholarship and society in general became evident in the late 1970s and intensified in the 1980s. Initially, important research focused on the different roles of Hitler, Nazi ideology, and the structure of the dictatorship in shaping the decision-making process that led to …

In the Cauldron

Josef Löwenherz, head of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde (IKG), Vienna’s Jewish community organization, with SS officers at the IKG offices, March 18, 1938
How to assess—historically and morally—the actions of Jewish leaders and other functionaries who negotiated with or were appointed by the Nazis during the Holocaust has been one of the most contentious and enduring controversies of Holocaust historiography. The embittered and accusatory early testimonies of many survivors, the honor courts of …