Jeffrey Herf
The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda During World War II and the Holocaust.
Harvard University Press, 416 pages, $29.95

reviewed by Paul Hollander

Which of the major findings of this excellent study is more disturbing: that human beings are capable of inventing and believing the kind of vicious nonsense the Nazis believed about Jews, or that such profoundly irrational beliefs can become the basis of a meticulously devised and implemented program of industrial mass murder? It is indeed the case, to say the least, that “an examination of modern political culture draws attention to the causal significance of many irrational and illusory ideological perspectives.”

It is among the Nazis’ claims to distinction that they triumphantly united political belief and action, thereby confounding modern Western convictions about the divergence between appearance and...

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