Daniel Goldhagen's thesis about the perpetrators of the Holocaust is creating continuing argument and debate. But neither he, nor other historians provide the answer to the most important question: "Why" did it occur?
Daniel Goldhagen's book, Hitler's Willing Executioners created much controversy in Germany, and some dispute even in the United States. Most historians both in the United States and Germany tended to be negative about Goldhagen's thesis, that most Germans shared the Nazi view of the Jews. The conventional wisdom of Holocaust historians usually assigned the primary blame to "German-Austrian" Adolf Hitler and his Nazi followers.
While I do not have the qualifications of a professional historian, I do possess the experiences of one who was an eyewitness when the genocide happened. As a former Häftling of Auschwitz (A-9867) and other concentration/labor camps I developed the motivation to trying to understand the seemingly irrational catastrophe. My quest is facilitated by a number of factors.
I had much exposure to Germany and the Germans. I was born in 1929, and grew up in Budapest. Hungary was an ally of Germany in World War I, and suffered its own punitive peace treaty. I believed -- and I still do -- that the "peace" treaties that concluded World War I were both unjust and unwise. My education in the public schools tended to be pro-German. In the sixth grade I started to study the German language, which was a required subject. I learned to read and write the Gothic script, and was taught some German poetry. I became interested in the history of World War I, and managed to learn a fair amount from old periodicals. I also saw quite a few German movies. All this gave me a favorable impression about Germany and the Germans, even after the Nazis came to power and perpetrated the anti-Jewish laws and the Kristallnacht of 1938. In 1941 I went to live in a small town in Hungary. There news about the war became very remote. I disbelieved the rumors circulating about the persecution of the Jews following the invasion of the Soviet Union as more of the Allied atrocity propaganda common during World War I. While the rise of the Hungarian fascists concerned us, we had good relations with our Gentile neighbors.
All this changed in 1944, when the German Wehrmacht occupied Hungary. A few weeks after Passover our entire community was transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, to be mostly annihilated. I spent the rest of the war there, and in several other concentration camps. (See Auschwitz, Hailfingen, Vaihingen: Hell on Earth.) After liberation in 1945 I stayed in Germany as a displaced person. I emigrated to the United States in 1947. In 1951 I returned to Germany, this time as a newly drafted soldier of the occupation forces. At the headquarters of the U.S. Army's 2nd Armored Division in Bad Kreuznach, I made my modest contribution to the defense of Germany from the Soviet threat. The 18 additional months I spent in Germany added more to my understanding of that nation.
Following my discharge from the military service I continued my studies of the events that led to the Holocaust. With the emergence of computers I became an information systems analyst. My intellectual activities were guided by the systems approach -- an in-depth analysis and understanding of the many factors involved in complex human activities, so that new systems can be developed. The Holocaust was such an unforeseen and seemingly irrational catastrophe that the historical approach -- focusing mainly on the chronological description of events and emphasis on the major participants -- creates more questions than answers. The role of Germany -- possessor of a high degree of civilization -- as the chief perpetrator is so unexpected that only a study that explores all facets of the genocide can reveal the truth. My qualifications to contribute to the understanding of the Holocaust is further enhanced by the research I am conducting in preparation of my book. Titled Beyond the Holocaust: Survival or Extinction?, it examines the ultimate meaning of the Holocaust to the human species.
The books written by historians of the Holocaust, true to their training, go extensively into the what, when, how the catastrophe happened. But frequently their understanding is faulty as to who were the perpetrators. For example, Yehuda Bauer's History of the Holocaust and books by most other historians extensively cover the Einsatzgruppen, but make few mentions of the Police Battalions, the major perpetrators described by Goldhagen. (The single exception was Christopher Browning. But his Ordinary Men offers few insights and even concludes with a question.) Similarly, the lack of a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding provides only partial explanations. In fact, some of the "explanations" seem irrelevant. For example, Paul Johnson assigns the ultimate blame to "Austrians," and Bauer mentions German romanticism and lack of national identity resulting from the Thirty Years' War. Even worse, some historians (such as Ernst Nolte) practice a form of Holocaust denial, by suggesting that mass killings by governments were also conducted by the Soviet Union, Turkey, the United States (in Vietnam), the Pol Pot in Cambodia, and so on. Since other nations were doing it, Germany was justified to murder millions of defenseless men, women and children. Many historians also imply that most Germans were innocent of the Holocaust, since it was Hitler and a few of his fellow Nazis who were really responsible for the bad things done in the name of Germany.
Goldhagen's non-historian background, although ridiculed by some of his critics, provides him with additional insights. His well-documented research goes beyond Browning's findings about the "ordinary men" as willing perpetrators. And his coining of the term "eliminationist antisemitism" highlights one of the major contributors to the Holocaust. Certainly his book provides a good explanation of the who, and a partial explanation of the why of the Holocaust.
The best explanation yet provided by professional historians is by John Weiss. His Ideology of Death: Why the Holocaust Happened in Germany provides a time line of the causes and events that ultimately resulted in the genocide. The demonization of the Jews as the cause of all disasters to society emerged from early Christianity. He traces the growth of antisemitism from the Middle Ages through the Reformation and Martin Luther into the Enlightenment and modern age. Prof. Weiss proves that a virtual mass movement of rabid antisemitism became part of both the German and Austrian societies by the beginning of the 20th century. In Germany, populist antisemitism fused with the political elites, academics and intellectuals. Fueled by racial and ultra-nationalistic fantasies, it found its natural enemies in socialists, liberals, Jews and others opposing them. The loss of World War I by the German military and political elites and the resulting economic and social upheavals magnified this fatal antisemitic trend, and directly resulted in the gaining of power by Hitler and the Nazis. This made World War II and the Holocaust inevitable events. John Weiss presents overwhelming evidence that German and Austrian antisemitism created Hitler and his genocidal Holocaust, and not the other way around.
Hopefully, the publishing of John Weiss' book in Germany will continue the controversy and resulting understanding about the true role of major segments of the German people as the real perpetrators of the Holocaust. But there is much more to the complete understanding of the Holocaust than can be revealed through the study of history. Only the systems approach, which brings together anthropological, cultural, social, institutional, historical and other complex factors can explain the why of the Holocaust. There is also a need to explain the Holocaust in the context of other genocides and mass murders of the 20th century. And the final piece of the puzzle is the meaning of the catastrophe/tragedy for the future of humankind, and the planning of needed actions to prevent future genocides and ensure human survival.
The interactions chart titled Causes of Human Devolution/Decline (Exhibit A) gives an overview of the major factors that caused the Holocaust. The individual components of the chart are explained in greater detail in the following paragraphs. One additional set of definitions is required. R.J. Rummel (political science professor at the University of Hawaii) describes in his Death by Government the major killings of the 20th century by governments. Genocide is defined as "The intentional destruction of people because of their race, religion, ethnicity or other permanent group membership." He also coined the new word democide: "The intentional killing of unarmed or disarmed persons by government agents acting in their authoritative capacity and pursuant to government policy or high command." Since genocides, democides and wars caused the death of an estimated 208 million people in this century, his findings are of great value to the understanding of the Holocaust. Because so many of the genocidal/democidal activities of Nazi Germany were conducted in tandem, it is appropriate to conduct analyses and explanations about the "Jewish-Slavic Holocaust" that claimed 17 million victims, of which about 6 million were Jews.
A logical question emerges from the study of genocides. How could supposedly intelligent and civilized humans allow the emergence of such genocides as the Holocaust? Unfortunately, intelligence can be negated or turned to evil use by harmful human flaws or characteristics. This is a potentially fatal human defect, which even begins to threaten human survival.
The understanding of the Holocaust must begin with a comprehension of the uniqueness of the human species: the human body and the human brain, and the characteristics that emerged from its structure. The recently published Demonic Males by Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson provides this essential foundation. Their summation of current scientific research findings include the following:
With the development of civilization social institutions were invented, which created laws and justice, religion and ethics, and other components of communal value systems to control the violently aggressive human behavior. The logical capability of the human brain was instrumental in this process.
The human brain is what makes humans unique. Scientists recognized this fact, when they named our species Homo sapiens sapiens , or "doubly wise humans." But another weakness or flaw emerged during human evolution. This is the First Brain vs. New Brain dichotomy.
Paul D. MacLean, head of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health's Laboratory of Brain Evolution and Behavior, has explored the separate neural structures within the human brain. The synthesis of his research and that of other scientists is now widely accepted and used to explain certain aspects of human behavior.
The human brain evolved over an extensive period from its primitive mammalian origin. For the sake of simplicity, it may be divided into two major components: the First Brain and the New Brain:
The New Brain is credited for producing our science, technology, industry, art, music, literature, economy -- in brief, all the institutions that compose our civilization. But much of our actions are dictated by First Brain control of our emotions, passions and instincts that condition our efforts of survival. These basic drives also influence our communications. Properly understood, communications techniques can be employed to persuade individuals and the public to accept our messages. The assumption is, of course, that the persuasion will be used for the advantage of the recipient.
Unfortunately, emotional appeals can make people vulnerable to unscrupulous manipulations, especially by authoritarian powerseekers. Cultures and institutions frequently make people susceptible to fervent enticements. For example, Hitler understood this human characteristic, when he made his emotional, non-rational appeals to his public. He regarded the masses as essentially "feminine," where "feelings and emotions are far more important than logical, reasoned thought." He projected the First Brain manipulation through the relatively new communications media: radio and film. The communications technologies of the video age make First Brain manipulations even more effective, especially where centralized authorities are able to control both the medium and the message. Although there has to be a predisposition to accept negative messages, a significant impact can be made on those already susceptible to ethnic, religious, class or other hatreds.
The evolution of Homo sapiens included the gradual migration of our ancestors from Central Africa to the four corners of the globe. This created a wide diversity of differences in physical appearance, culture, religion, ethnicity, language and so on. While this diversity contributed to the rich cultural heritage of humanity, it also created the means for dividing and damaging us. Unscrupulous powerseekers -- politicians, dictators and even religious leaders -- learned to manipulate their subjects through First Brain appeals to racism, tribalism, ethnicity and religious and class differences. In place of amity and cooperation among our diverse groups we developed a tribalistic mindset, with much enmity and mistrust. This is intensified by the almost incredible development and distribution of the instruments of war and violence.
Other human characteristics contribute to the harmful trends. These include a propensity to aggressiveness. Our normal bent to develop and master our environment often becomes obstructed in our societies, and then it turns into destructive anger, rage and hate. Aggression easily moves to destructive violence and cruelty toward other humans.
Obedience to authority is another harmful human trait. This facilitates the employment of violence and cruelty by normal people against other humans. Authorities in human societies can organize and order the employment of violence and cruelty against real or perceived enemies. The sense of individual responsibility disappears when obedience takes over.
Lack of biological inhibitions against killing is becoming a counter-survival human trait. Obedience to authority easily overrides the cultural prohibitions about killing other humans. Especially in wartime it becomes a duty to slaughter those whom the government has labeled enemies, because of racial, national, ethnic, class, religious or other differences. Mass murder can also be facilitated by a bureaucratization process, whereby individuals in a chain of events need to feel little or no responsibility for their part of the slaughter. Such a process was cunningly designed and implemented during the Holocaust by Nazi Germany.
Psychological distancing creates a capacity to treat other human beings as inferior, alien or, in extreme cases, less than human. Stratification by class or caste is common in many societies. Extreme cruelty may result when a section of community is regarded as both dangerous and despicable.
Both Daniel Goldhagen and Christopher Browning provide many well-documented examples of these negative human traits. Obedience to authority and lack of inhibitions against killing other humans (including women and children), reinforced by peer pressure and the political addiction of antisemitism sufficed to transform ordinary men into ruthless killers. The conduct of the Police Battalions was replicated by many units of the SS and the Wehrmacht, resulting ultimately in the 17 million victims of the Jewish-Slavic Holocaust. This manifestation of human behavior has continued in many other places since World War II, such as the Khmer Rouge democide in Cambodia, the "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia and the tribal massacres in Rwanda.
Humans are also vulnerable to addictions. Addictions to substances, such as alcohol, nicotine and drugs are very common. But existing cultural forces, social conditions and institutions in many countries create behaviors that also become self-destructive societal addictions. These psychological addictions can become even more harmful than the addictions to physical substances.
Societal addictions developed in many countries. In Germany the antisemitism fostered by the state churches and other institutions, the militarism developed in Prussia, the feelings of racial and cultural superiority advocated by politicians, all combined to create the events that lead to two World Wars and the Holocaust. Other societies have developed their own addictions. Economic addictions may cover unrestrained development and exploitation of the environment. Cultural addictions involve racism and the exploitation of women. Political addictions include extolling the in-group -- like ultra-nationalism and religious fundamentalism, or victim-creating -- such as antisemitism persecuting Jews and communism abusing "capitalists." Political addictions also may be created to gain and keep power. This helps to explain the rise of Fascism in Italy, Nazism in Germany and Communism in Russia and China.
The rise of totalitarian systems all followed a similar pattern that was based on the various forms of societal addictions. In Germany the emergence of Hitler was facilitated by the addictions of ultra-nationalism and militarism that was promoted by the government after the unification of Germany. These addictions were combined with "Aryan" racism and eliminationist antisemitism, and malevolently converted to the ultra-political addiction of "national socialism" by power-hungry politicians. The entire process was facilitated by modern communications technologies and many institutions of society and the state. Previous groups of powerholders were discredited by political mismanagement. The disillusioned public was vulnerable to emotional manipulations, and turned to the new groups of powerseekers, with catastrophic results.
Cultural influences can control or reinforce the weaknesses of the human brain and psychology. For example, the Germanic cattle nomad culture developed certain features. The Germanic tribes had to be warlike, to guard their herds and add to their grazing territory. The cattle economy also created an aristocratic social pattern. This was a three-class society, consisting of nobles, commoners and serfs -- who represented the conquered populations. Powerholders of nation-states, based on or heavily influenced by this culture pattern, had no problems in converting the human weaknesses into militaristic, racist and ultra-nationalistic attitudes. The Nazi ideology of a "super-race," ready to dominate the "subhuman" Slavs and exterminate others deemed harmful emerged from this Germanic culture. Similarly, the Mongol horse nomad culture conducted numerous genocidal massacres during its 13th-15th century dominance over the Eurasian continent. While many members of societies influenced by violent culture patterns can resist violence, others find it useful or even irresistible to support violence against other groups.
Social institutions are supposed to convert human savagery into civilization. Social institutions emerge out of social inventions. A social invention is a new organization, procedure or law, or a combination of these, that changes the ways people relate to themselves or to each other. A successful and widely accepted social invention eventually becomes a social institution and an accepted part of everyday existence.
Human progress has been marked by the continuous development of social institutions. Successful social inventions enabled societies to function better. For example, some social institutions provided the fundamental structures for government: legislatures, codes and courts of law, taxation, political parties, civil service, freedom of the press. Other social inventions formalized human relationships, like marriage, divorce or adoption, or provided valuable services in an increasingly complex society: schools, universities, libraries and hospitals.
Some social institutions can be harmful, such as organized crime. But even beneficial social institutions can be converted into harmful ones or weakened, if captured by powerholders not interested in serving their societies. The control of the governing and the military/war institutions is especially favored by powerholders, who can then subvert other beneficial institutions to harmful purposes.
The subverting of the governing institution is especially relevant to the understanding of such genocides as the Holocaust. Appealing to human weaknesses and negative cultural influences, there is a logical progress of many demagogues into dictatorships, followed by tyranny. Chaotic economic and political systems, weak government administrative structures, jealous and vengeful resentments over real or imagined wrongs, all contribute to the emergence of tyrants. As shown by Hitler and Stalin, under certain conditions it is quite easy for demagogues to concoct racial, ethnic, economic and other myths to gain power and inflict tyranny on their societies.
"Scapegoating" is another important technique for gaining or retaining power. For example, "Jews" in Germany and elsewhere and persons labeled "capitalists" in Russia and China were blamed for the ills of societies, and thus used to facilitate the taking of power by demagogues.
The military/war institution can similarly be subverted to ends ultimately harmful to their societies and many others. The industrialization of Europe and the colonization of much of Africa and Asia created both great wealth and political rivalries. These trends, fueled by the ideas of such military strategists as Clausewitz, contributed to a tremendous increase in the military establishments of the industrialized countries. Even such late arrivals as Imperial Japan developed and started to use their military might. Much of the resources of these economies were used to create huge armies and navies, manned through universal military service. Science and technology were employed to develop increasingly lethal weapons as well. All these trends contributed to fears and hostilities, resulting political crises and, eventually, tremendously destructive wars. Science and technology were misused to destructive purposes in conducting the wars, genocides and democides of the 20th century.
Human biology, the weaknesses of the human brain, reinforcing cultural influences, weakened social institutions and misused technology provide the infrastructure for genocides, democides and wars. It only requires certain triggering events to convert these into such catastrophes as the Holocaust.
The Holocaust is well defined by the word catastrophe -- a momentous, tragic, sudden event marked by extreme misfortune and utter overthrow or ruin. Since the 1970s a mathematical catastrophe theory has emerged to predict discontinuous, frequently damaging changes of any kind. Its advocates claim that not only physical changes (e.g., the collapse of a dam), but social events, such as the outbreak of wars, are both explainable and predictable. Preexisting conditions become intensified or overburdened by continuing events until the overload condition occurs, and the sudden abrupt change takes place. A probability factor can be applied to the conditions and events, so that predicting or forecasting catastrophes becomes feasible. The contributing factors of a specific catastrophe can be explained and understood. The analysis of the causes of catastrophes also makes it possible to allocate the share of the responsibility, if any, to institutions or persons. Blame for negligence or willful actions can be assigned as well.
Understanding the Holocaust
At least five motives can be assigned to the Nazis and their confederates for initiating and conducting the Holocaust:
The most significant contributory factors to the Holocaust were the following:
A preexisting infrastructure for genocide, and a series of triggering events, resulted in the Holocaust. In retrospect, it is possible to categorize the major factors, and assign a subjectively estimated share of the responsibilities to the principal parties involved.
Principal Causes of the Holocaust
|German tribalistic racist culture||
|British/French vindictive peace treaty||
|Demonizing of Jews by state churches||
|Wilson's national self-determination policy||
Although the primary responsibility for the Holocaust belongs to Nazi Germany, the other powers contributed their share. Unfortunately, both the conditions and a probability of triggering events for new catastrophes remain.
A thorough analysis of the Holocaust reveals the real causes of the tragedy. Such fundamental characteristics of Homo sapiens as: a genetic predilection to aggressive violence against other human groups; the vulnerability to addictions, including cultural and political; and the First Brain vs. New Brain dichotomy and resulting susceptibility to emotional manipulations by powerholders and powerseekers supply the infrastructure of genocides and democides.
The Holocaust also exposed the failure of the social institutions that should have prevented it. Prior to the rise of Nazism the institutions of Germany were numerous and effective. In governance -- political parties and an efficient bureaucracy. In religion -- the state churches. In education -- excellent universities and schools. Many professional associations -- legal, medical, teaching and others. Among commercial institutions -- associations of small businesses and artisans, as well as large businesses and corporations. The ultimate purpose of these well-functioning institutions was to convert the incredible violence potential of Homo sapiens into a civilized society, and ultimately to advance human survival. Instead, these institutions almost universally allowed themselves to be corrupted by the addictions to antisemitism, racism, ultra-nationalism and militarism, and thereby significantly contributed to the continuing human devolution/decline of the 20th century.
All it took then was the convergence of events and conditions into a catastrophe. The political mismanagement by the ruling political class and the excessive war institutions of Europe erupted into the two World Wars. Not only were huge casualties suffered, but the discrediting of powerholders led to new authoritarian regimes and tens of millions of deaths by democides and genocides, including the Jewish-Slavic Holocaust. The ongoing political instabilities of many countries and the ready availability of both conventional and mass destruction weapons continue to endanger human survival.
Some critics suggested that Goldhagen's book makes Germans unjustly into born genocidists, which itself becomes a racist accusation. Others, including many historians declare that without Hitler and the Nazis such genocide as the Holocaust would not have taken place. However, there is evidence that German culture had some genocidal tendencies even before Hitler, such as the extreme antisemitism documented by Daniel Goldhagen and John Weiss.
During the colonization of Africa Germany gained control of South-West Africa (Namibia). German settlers started to dispossess the indigenous natives, which also included the Herero tribe. Driven to desperation by the continued expropriation of their lands, and their racist treatment by the settlers -- including the sexual abuse of their women -- the Hereros finally revolted in 1904. Of course they had no chance against the superior military forces of the occupiers. Defeated in the only battle they fought the Hereros would have submitted. But a conscious decision was made by the German command to completely destroy the Herero nation. This was accomplished by driving the Hereros into the desert, and blocking their access to water. At the end of the uprising only 15,000 Hereros survived out of the original 80,000 of their nation. All their tribal land was confiscated, and they were reduced to become serfs to the settlers. The war against the Hereros was a manifestation of German imperialism resorting to methods of genocide. Thus the Holocaust was really the second genocide for Germany in the 20th century.
The question arises: Is genocide a unique German characteristic? The events of the 20th century do suggest that this might be the case. The handling of the Herero uprising, the Jewish-Slavic Holocaust, the millions of noncombatants killed in the territories occupied by Nazi Germany, all point to such a conclusion. But an in-depth analysis discloses that genocidal behavior is not an inbred characteristics of Germans.
The human flaws of biology and psychology and a racist Germanic culture did make Germans vulnerable to emotional manipulations that lead to genocides. But what made the Holocaust possible was the failure of certain institutions to prevent, and the encouragement of other institutions to engage in genocidal/democidal behavior.
Both John Weiss and Daniel Goldhagen make a major contribution to the understanding of the Holocaust. Their summation of rabid German and Austrian antisemitism reveals that gradually key institutions of Germany became corrupted by, or acquiesced to genocidal beliefs. The state churches, educational institutions, government (including the judicial system), professional associations and commercial institutions -- all complied with and reinforced this fatal trend. The role of the military/war institution became especially harmful. The military leadership found it useful to blame their defeat in World War I to mythical Jewish conspiracies, thereby fueling the genocidal tendencies. The powerful military machine they were able to create after 1933 then provided the means to conquer much of Europe and subject the Jewish populations to annihilation. The Wehrmacht also provided most of the executioners -- the Einsatzgruppen , the Police Battalions, the SS troopers and the other guards of extermination and concentration/labor camps.
An in-depth objective analysis of the causes of the Jewish-Slavic Holocaust reveals the ultimate reality. The German people were betrayed by their own institutions. The institutions that were designed to convert potential human savagery into civilization allowed themselves to be subverted into instruments of barbarism:
What Should Be Done
The chief purpose of investigating the conditions that enabled the Holocaust to take place is to prevent future genocides. The study of the wars and genocides/democides that killed the 208 million victims of this century disclose the guilty parties. Political mismanagement of government institutions by a world-wide political class and an excessive military/war institution are the main culprits. Indeed one must conclude that political mismanagement and its main tool, the military/war institution brought about a condition of human devolution/decline that now begins to threaten human survival itself.
To ensure that future Holocausts will not happen, a major effort must be made by the democratic, developed countries of the world, especially by the United States (because of its superpower status), and Germany (to compensate for the past). The world-wide correcting of political mismanagement and the downsizing of the military must be accompanied by a reinventing of key institutions. Governments must adopt national goals that foster cooperation and amity, in place of hostility and enmity. Resources currently wasted on the excessive military/war institutions need to be applied to economic development, and the improving of the education and health of the less developed world. Other institutions that have a significant impact on human affairs must similarly modify their doctrines. A new code of institutional conduct may be used to guide such modifications:
> All human institutions, religious organizations, political
>> that teach, advocate, propose, support, endorse and otherwise promote
>>> enmities, hatreds, violence, hostility or the use of force against
>>>> other human groups of different race, class, ethnicity or religious affiliation
>>>>> must modify their teachings, dogmas and doctrines
>>>>>> to advance human survival by reducing intergroup strife.
Hopefully Goldhagen's book will not be used to initiate denials of culpability, historical revisionism or attempts to cover up the past. Only by fearlessly looking into the human soul can we ensure the survival of the future generations.
* * *
If the causes of the Holocaust are not recognized by the governments
of the world,
the Holocaust may simply become a way station to human extinction. The
concluded with another genocide in Rwanda, which claimed 800,000 lives.
century started with major terrorist attacks, and continued violence in
East and elsewhere. To ensure human survival, we must make major
changes in our governmental
and other social institutions. My research in trying to understand the
and prevent future genocides culminated in a logical solution to our
reaching of a higher level of governmental institution than what we
My research paper titled: Common Good State: The Next Phase of Human Societies summarizes the needs to resolve our predicament, and provides the actions needed to advance human survival and progress.
We should be motivated by the following equation, which summarizes the lessons of the 20th century, and the threat to human survival:
There is no limit to the potential for human evil = E
There is no limit to the potential for human destructiveness = D
Example: Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)
There is no limit to the potential for human stupidity = S
Example: Starts of World War I, World War II
E + D + S = X >>> (Human Extinction)
* * *
Yehuda Bauer, History of the Holocaust (New York: Franklin Watts, 2002)
Christopher Browning, Ordinary Men (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1992)
Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996)
Paul D. MacLean, "The Paranoid Streak in Man," Beyond Reductionism, (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1969)
R.J. Rummel, Death by Government (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers,1994)
Anthony Storr, Human Destructiveness (New York: Ballantine Books, 1991)
John Weiss, Ideology of Death: Why the Holocaust Happened in Germany (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1996)
Richard Wrangham and Dale Patterson, Demonic Males (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1996)
Peter A. Zuckerman, Beyond the Holocaust: Survival or Extinction? (Web: www.hpn.org/beyond: Human Progress Network, 2003)