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Final Solution

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


Translation of German Endlösung , the euphemism used by hitler and his associates to denote nazism's campaign for the genocidal destruction of the European jews . Two further designations, originating amongst survivors, have subsequently become current as more sensitive synonyms for this project: “the Holocaust” (deriving from rituals of burnt sacrifice) and “the Shoah” (Hebrew for “catastrophe”). Over recent decades the topic has stimulated – quite apart from an unscholarly and noxiously-motivated literature of “Holocaust denial” – extensive historiographical debate focused particularly on the merits of “intentionalist” versus “structuralist” or “functionalist” interpretations of the relevant policy-making. In essence, the issues are whether Hitler had clear long-laid plans for the total extermination of the Jewish race, or did the antisemitism that always pervaded the Nazi movement become radicalized into a distinctively genocidal form only as a matter of opportunistic improvization under the pressures of world war ii . Whatever their answer to that, most historians now tend towards viewing the campaign as being already well under way by the end of 1941 (six months after the launching of Operation barbarossa ), and towards assessing the secret wannsee conference of January 1942 as a vital stage in coordinating (rather than simply launching) its implementation. Under ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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