Date of Award
Goss, Andrew; Wilson, Jeffrey
This paper examines the power and limitations of historical analysis in regards to explaining the Holocaust and in particular the widespread consent to the Nazi program. One of the primary limitations that emerges is an inability of historians to fully engage other social sciences to offer a more comprehensive explanation as to why so many Germans engaged in what we would consider an â€œevilâ€ enterprise. In that regard, I offer the work of Ernest Becker, a social anthropologist, whose work provides a framework for understanding history as a succession of attempts by man to create societies that generate meaning through various heroic quests that defy man's finite existence, yet often result in carnage. Combining Becker's theoretical framework with the rich historical evidence specific to the Holocaust provides a much richer understanding of both Becker's work and why the Holocaust happened.
Martin, Stephen, "Understanding the Holocaust: Ernest Becker and the "Heroic Nazi"" (2009). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 1001.