Why the Germans? Why the Jews?

Envy, Race Hatred, and the Prehistory of the Holocaust

Aly Götz

Metropolitan Books

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A provocative and insightful analysis that sheds new light on one of the most puzzling and historically unsettling conundrums

Why the Germans? Why the Jews? Countless historians have grappled with these questions, but few have come up with answers as original and insightful as those of maverick German historian Götz Aly. Tracing the prehistory of the Holocaust from the 1800s to the Nazis’ assumption of power in 1933, Aly shows that German anti-Semitism was—to a previously overlooked extent—driven in large part by material concerns, not racist ideology or religious animosity. As Germany made its way through the upheaval of the Industrial Revolution, the difficulties of the lethargic, economically backward German majority stood in marked contrast to the social and economic success of the agile Jewish minority. This success aroused envy and fear among the Gentile population, creating fertile ground for murderous Nazi politics.

Surprisingly, and controversially, Aly shows that the roots of the Holocaust are deeply intertwined with German efforts to create greater social equality. Redistributing wealth from the well-off to the less fortunate was in many respects a laudable goal, particularly at a time when many lived in poverty. But as the notion of material equality took over the public imagination, the skilled, well-educated Jewish population came to be seen as having more than its fair share. Aly’s account of this fatal social dynamic opens up a new vantage point on the greatest crime in history and is sure to prompt heated debate for years to come.

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Introduction

The Question Of Questions

Why the Germans? Why the Jews?

Why did Germans murder six million men, women, and children who were guilty of nothing other than being Jews? How was this possible? How could a civilized, culturally diverse, and productive people release this sort of massive destructive energy?

In the nineteenth century, Jews who emigrated to Germany from neighboring countries in Eastern Europe felt great relief when they crossed the border. They appreciated the legal protections, economic freedom, and educational opportunities offered first by Prussia

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About the Author

Aly Götz

Götz Aly is the author of Hitler’s Beneficiaries and Into the Tunnel, among other books. One of the most respected historians of the Third Reich and the Holocaust, he has received the National Jewish Book Award, Germany’s prestigious Heinrich Mann Prize, and numerous other honors. He is currently the Sir Peter Ustinov guest professor at the University of Vienna.

Götz Aly

Susanne Schleyer
Götz Aly

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Available Formats and Book Details

Why the Germans? Why the Jews?
Envy, Race Hatred, and the Prehistory of the Holocaust
Aly Götz

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
Metropolitan Books
April 2014
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9780805097047
ISBN10: 080509704X
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 304 pages
$14.99

Hardcover

Hardcover
Henry Holt and Co.
Metropolitan Books
April 2014
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780805097009
ISBN10: 0805097007
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 304 pages
$30.00

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
4/7/2015
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781250062642
ISBN10: 1250062640
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 304 pages
$18.00
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