Ordinary Men Essay

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Christopher R. Browning’s “Ordinary Men” chronicles the rise and fall of the Reserve Police Battalion 101. The battalion was one of several units that took part in the Final Solution to the Jewish Question while in Poland. The men of Reserve Police Battalion 101, and other units were comprised of ordinary men, from ordinary backgrounds living under the Third Reich. Browning’s premise for the book is very unique, instead of focusing on number of victims, it examines the mindset of how ordinary men, became cold-hearted killers under Nazi Germany during World War II. Christopher Browning’s “Ordinary Men” presents a very strong case that the men who made up the Reserve Police Battalion 101 were indeed ordinary men from ordinary background, and examines the question: How did ordinary men become the cold-blooded killers of the holocaust?

The Reserve Police Battalion 101 was a unit of German Order Police, known as ‘Ordnungspolizei’ during World War II. Battalion 101 was made up of 500 men, with ordinary backgrounds from Germany and played a central role in the implementation of the Final Solution. The men of the battalion took part in rounding up Jews, the polish, Gypsies another other minorities, deportation to concentration camps, and the most sickening the mass shooting of tens of thousands of civilians. The Battalion 101’s participation in the Final Solution, resulted in the deportation of 45,200 Jews to the Treblinka Concentration Camp, and it is estimated that from July 1942 and November 1943, the Police Battalion 101 was responsible for the mass shootings of Jews that resulted in over 38,000 deaths. Before the war, most of the members of Reserve Police Battalion 101 never harmed anyone, and these men who were from simple, ordinary backgrounds became cold-blooded killers and committed some of the worst crimes humanity has ever seen. Christopher Browning’s “Ordinary Men” is almost like a psychological analysis that examines how the members of Battalion 101...
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