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. (February 2019)
A Specter Haunting Europe: The Myth of Judeo-Bolshevism
by Paul Hanebrink
One of the great merits of Paul Hanebrink’s A Specter Haunting Europe is its demonstration of how Europe’s most pervasive and powerful twentieth-century manifestation of anti-Semitic thought—the myth of Judeo-Bolshevism—emerged before the rise of National Socialism and has continued to have a curious life long after the Holocaust and the defeat of Nazi Germany. Hanebrink’s approach is not to repeat what he considers an error of the interwar era—the futile attempt to refute a myth on the basis of historical facts and statistical data. Trying to discredit powerful political myths with mere facts, as we know all too well today, is a frustrating endeavor. Thus Hanebrink seeks instead to understand the historical background and the “cultural logic” of the myth of Judeo-Bolshevism—how it functioned and morphed through different phases.
Whatever secret reservations Mitch McConnell and other traditional Republican leaders have about Trump’s character, governing style, and possible criminality, they openly rejoice in the payoff they have received from their alliance with him and his base: huge tax cuts for the wealthy, financial and environmental deregulation, the nominations of two conservative Supreme Court justices (so far) and a host of other conservative judicial appointments, and a significant reduction in government-sponsored health care (though not yet the total abolition of Obamacare they hope for). Like Hitler’s conservative allies, McConnell and the Republicans have prided themselves on the early returns on their investment in Trump.
Stormtroopers: A New History of Hitler’s Brownshirts
by Daniel Siemens
The torchlight parade of some ten to fifteen thousand brown-shirted stormtroopers through the streets of Berlin on the night of Adolf Hitler’s appointment as chancellor of Germany in January 1933 is certainly one of the best-known images of the Nazi era. It is no surprise, then, that it was invoked …
by Volker Ullrich, translated from the German by Jefferson Chase
Even if there are many significant differences between Hitler and Trump and their respective historical circumstances, what conclusions can the reader of Volker Ullrich’s new biography reach that offer insight into our current situation?
East West Street: On the Origins of “Genocide” and “Crimes Against Humanity”
by Philippe Sands
The Extermination of the European Jews
by Christian Gerlach
The Nuremberg Trials marked a milestone in the development of international law in part because individuals who participated in the commission of state crimes were no longer shielded by the legal defenses of either sovereign immunity (for leaders) or obedience to orders (for underlings). But the trials were also notable …
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 …
Europe on Trial: The Story of Collaboration, Resistance, and Retribution During World War II
by István Deák
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 …