Why did the Holocaust happen in Germany, of all places? How did a country known for its culture and refinement turn so rabidly anti-Semitic? Why did a nation where Jews had full civil rights and many opportunities—a place that Jews had eagerly flocked to in the early twentieth century to escape racist persecution in Poland and Russia—turn upon them so violently just a few decades later? Countless people have grappled with these questions, but few have come up with answers as original and perceptive as those of 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 did not originate with racist ideology or religious animosity, as is often supposed. Instead, through striking statistics and economic analysis, he demonstrates that it was rooted in a more basic emotion: material envy.
Aly's groundbreaking 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.
"A remarkably fresh look at an old problem."—Christopher R. Browning, The New York Times Book Review
"The lavish evidence Aly heaps on . . . is incredible in its own right and makes for gripping reading."—Dagmar Herzog, The New York Times Book Review
"Consistently absorbing . . . a penetrating and provocative study [that] offers shrewd insight into the German mind-set over the last two centuries."—The Jewish Daily Forward
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