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Discussion of Rudolf Hoess in Regards to Christopher Browning's Ordinary Men

In: Historical Events

Submitted By Bwhalen
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Rudolf Hoess was not an ordinary man. He was born into a religious family with a history in warfare. He was raised to be a soldier and to live out his life as a man of God. Once his father died he ran away to the front lines during WWI and abandoned his religion. Eventually he became the Kommandant of Auschwitz where he dealt out death to hundreds of thousands of Jews. He was not an ordinary man.
Christopher Browning in his book, Ordinary Men, discusses the Reserve Police Battalion 101 and their change over time from ordinary men to hardened killers. He proves that, through varies experiences and decisions that the Nazi regime manipulated them into becoming killers while also saying that it was also their own person choice to kill throughout the entirety of their time in the Battalion. Rudolf Hoess, although he did start off as a regular man who wouldn’t hurt anyone on his own, was never manipulated like the men of Battalion 101 to become a killer. The choice was always his own and he at no point rejected the idea of the murder of Jews.
Browning discussed a transition period for the Battalion where they became hardened by their surrounding and became accustomed to the killing. This transition period was never present in Hoess’ memoire and therefore one must conclude that he never had the same struggles of a man coming to grips with murder. The need to follow orders is also prevalent in both Browning and Hoess’ works but in Brownings’ investigation it is shown that orders did not have to be followed and routinely were abandoned. This idea is never mentioned in Hoess’ memoire and he takes the idea of orders beyond what it really was at the time to justify his own actions.
The feelings of guilt clearly shown by the men in Battalion 101 are not present in Hoess’ memoire and where he does describe his own personal guilt it is impossible to verify making it…...

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