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A Brief Introduction About Ordinary Men By Christopher R. Browning

"Can ordinary guys become murderers?" asks Christopher Browning in his book Ordinary Men. The members of the 101st Reserve Police Battalion tell the narrative of the Holocaust through their eyes in the book of Browning. Browning paints a vivid picture of these assassins' humble beginnings as middle-class guys who went on to commit atrocities. How could these folks turn into mass killers, then? The members of Reserve Police Battalion 101, a unit of the German Order Police, were the basis for Browning's novel. It was in the 1960s when these testimonies were presented as part of the German government's inquiry into Nazi war crimes. It's clear from Browning's work that racism and wartime conformity were the primary causes of the Holocaust.

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Outline of Ordinary Men

Ordinary Men paints a vivid picture of the role played by Police Battalion 101 during World War II. Reconstructing the events these individuals were involved in is a key emphasis of the book. For this purpose, Browning relies on first-hand accounts of the atrocities committed against the Polish Jews by these individuals. From murdering innocent men, women, and children to clearing out Jewish ghettos and ensuring that they board trains bound for extermination camps in Poland during World War II, he recounts their exploits there. "Ordinary Men" can become mass killers, according to Browning. Browning delved into these men's pasts to have a better understanding of the mystery. How did they get to this point? Were they more intelligent than the rest of us? Browning finds that these folks were just like everyone else. Most of them were middle-aged working-class males with only a high school diploma or less. Fascism was a new phenomenon for most of them, and they were old enough to have grown up in Germany before the Nazis came to power. It's safe to say that none of these individuals had any specialised training. He comes to believe that anyone who refuses to murder is abdicating his or her responsibility to the group as a whole. Non-killers ran the risk of being shunned and rejected by their peers. Victors in World War II may more easily believe that these ordinary men were cold-blooded killers before they ever started. That these people had anti-Semitic intentions. In fact, this is not true at all. They had no desire to harm anyone. That's why they became police officers in the first place: to avoid being called up for military service. There was a lot of propaganda in their life. As a result of seeing what a good German looked like, they began to emulate the behaviour of the Nazis. Men's aspirations for military service were shaped by propaganda. These soldiers were put in a harrowing circumstance in which they were forced to kill people, which was a tremendous mental challenge for them. As a result of their harrowing experiences, these men became seasoned killers. In the guise of nationalism and adherence to the state's orders, they are asked to carry out crimes that they would otherwise avoid.


Major Trapp, commander of Reserve Police Battalion 101, received his first death warrants, ordering the killing of the Jews of Józefów because their transfer to the extermination camps was not feasible at the moment (Browning 54). Despite his disapproval of these methods, Trapp made an offer to his company: "Any of the elder men who did not feel up to the duty that lay before them may walk out" (Browning 57) to his troops. Trapp, despite his passionate opposition to the slaughter of innocent Jews, did nothing but give the elder men the option to step out if they so desired. In order to avoid the same fate as the Jews, Trapp decided not to defy his superiors. 1,500 Jews were slaughtered in the Józefów atrocity despite Trapp's sorrow being widely publicised. That's just what he said (Browning 58). But our definition of conformity should not be limited to simply obeying commands; it should also take into account the strength of the mob.


A major component in why some guys wanted to leave but didn't was peer pressure, according to Browning (Browning 189). As a result, if one left the group, they were effectively shaming or at the very least distancing themselves from their fellow soldiers. The only thing a soldier has in combat is his or her companions, and to leave them would be to lose that position. Officers said that they did not want their troops to become cowards, but this required a great deal of courage (Browning 56). "To leave one's companions that morning in Józefów meant admitting one was 'too weak' or 'cowardly'" (Browning 72).  According to Browning, several of the killers appeared to be motivated by ambition in their murderous deeds. A higher position and promotion would be at stake if they did not obeyed commands with brutality. Another technique for the men of Reserve Police Battalion 101 to justify the death of the Jews was to imagine that they were already dead — in other words, if I don't lift my hand now, someone else will tomorrow (Browning 72). A metalworker who admitted to solely murdering children as much as possible is a more severe case. He reasoned that the infant's mother was either dead or dying, and that the youngster would perish without his or her mother. He believed he was protecting these youngsters from harm. "It was intended to be comforting to my conscience to release children who couldn't exist without their moms," says the author (Browning 73).

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Conclusion of Ordinary Men Essay

The essay of the Ordinary Men concludes that: Were these people just mindless murders or anything more? What if they were simply normal men who became killers? The members of the 101st Reserve Police Battalion appear to on the latter sort. In the holocaust, they were regular Germans or ordinary Germans who participated in the harrowing killings in the name of nationalism, racism, fear and reward. A long history of Nazism/Nazi ideology and anti-Semitism in Germany allowed it to fit within this pattern. However, both scholarly and non-academic audiences praised the work. Critics loved the book's fresh approach to investigating criminals. Daniel Goldhagen's book "Hitler's Willing Executioners" attempted to invalidate Browning's work immediately after "Ordinary Men" was released. Goldhagen was outraged by the fact that the guys on the RPB 101 were just regular citizens. Overall, "Ordinary Men" is a thought-provoking work that needs to be recognised for its unique historical perspective on the Holocaust. Browning is able to strike a good mix between offering a well-researched historical narrative and a well-thought-out conclusion on RPB 101's activities. If you are looking for English assignment writers or research paper writers, then you can connect with We are one of the best do my homework service providing website.


Browning, Christopher. Ordinary Men. New York: Harper Perennial, 1993. Goldhagen, Daniel. Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. New York: Basic Books, 2007.

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