Holocaust Controversies

Intention and Explanation

This is where we begin.

To choose the title of a twenty-five-year-old essay by Tim Mason to headline the first post of this blog might at first glance seem obscure. But although Mason was writing a quarter of a century ago, his exposition of the debate been the rival intentionalist and structuralist or functionalist schools of interpretation of the Third Reich retains a power and impact which has rarely been bettered since. Moreover, this essay, to be found in the collection Nazism, Fascism and the Working Class, Cambridge, 1996, was one of the few occasions in which the leading historian of Nazi Germany of his era tackled the subject of the mass murder of European Jewry, the Holocaust. Like many historians of the 1960s generation that began to study the Third Reich intensively, Mason concentrated his efforts on the period leading up to the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. He openly admitted that he was psychologically incapable of confronting the horrors of Nazism at war; a psychic block which some of his friends believe may have contributed to his tragic decision to take his own life in 1990.

Holocaust deniers would only snort at this tragedy. How could anyone be so affected by atrocities that never happened? To the doyens of 'historical revisionism', Mason's personal tragedy would become transmogrified into a far-right morality tale: look, see, the psychic damage that is being done because of this incessant propaganda about the Holocaust!

(Taken from  holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/2006/07/blame-it-on-germans.html)


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