For educated and tolerant Westerners, it is extremely difficult to imagine the dangerous power that anti-Semitism has enjoyed in modern Europe and impossible to grasp how it could have led to the unique horrors of the Holocaust. To study the origins and history of anti-Semitism by itself helps little. To fully grasp the dangerous potential of racism we must also know the relationships between the fantasies of the anti-Semites and the long-term historical development of various nations. In The Politics of Hate, John Weiss shows how anti-Semitism and racism developed as a major element in the European political process from the late nineteenth century to the Holocaust. Concentrating on the experience of Germany, Austria, France, and Poland, Mr. Weiss traces the combination of ideas and national cultures that brought venomous consequences to political life and spelled difficulty and then doom for Jews. In a separate chapter on Italy, he explains why anti-Semitism never took hold there, and why even during World War II, under Nazi control, Jews in Italy were relatively protected. The reasons for these developments—why Germany initiated the Holocaust, why the Austrians supplied so many killers, why a million French fascists could not damage the Jews until the Vichy government came to power, why anti-Semitism was far stronger in Eastern than in Western Europe—help us understand why the politics of racial hate succeed and what can be done about it.
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Published January 28, 2003
by Ivan R. Dee.
History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel.