Drunk on Genocide: Alcohol and Mass Murder in Nazi Germany
Published by: Cornell University Press
Imprint: Cornell University Press
Sales Date: 2023-03-15
Published: March 2023
Imprint: Cornell University Press
Page Count: 312 Pages
Illustrations: 5 b&w halftones
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
312 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.90 in, 5 b&w halftones
Temporarily Out Of StockAdd to Wishlist
In Drunk on Genocide, Edward B. Westermann reveals how, over the course of the Third Reich, scenes involving alcohol consumption and revelry among the SS and police became a routine part of rituals of humiliation in the camps, ghettos, and killing fields of Eastern Europe.
Westermann draws on a vast range of newly unearthed material to explore how alcohol consumption served as a literal and metaphorical lubricant for mass murder. It facilitated "performative masculinity," expressly linked to physical or sexual violence. Such inebriated exhibitions extended from meetings of top Nazi officials to the rank and file, celebrating at the grave sites of their victims. Westermann argues that, contrary to the common misconception of the SS and police as stone-cold killers, they were, in fact, intoxicated with the act of murder itself.
Drunk on Genocide highlights the intersections of masculinity, drinking ritual, sexual violence, and mass murder to expose the role of alcohol and celebratory ritual in the Nazi genocide of European Jews. Its surprising and disturbing findings offer a new perspective on the mindset, motivation, and mentality of killers as they prepared for, and participated in, mass extermination.
Published in Association with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
1. Alcohol and the Masculine Ideal
2. Rituals of Humiliation
3. Taking Trophies and Hunting Jews
4. Alcohol and Sexual Violence
5. Celebrating Murder
6. Alcohol, Auxiliaries, and Mass Murder
7. Alcohol and the German Army
Drunk on Genocide is an essential read, and one that offers considerable insights into the intimate relationship between ritualized intoxication, cults of masculinity, ideological antisemitism, and the mass murders in the bloodlands of the east.EuropeNow
Westermann uses a wide variety of primary sources ranging from photos to diaries to interviews to understand the behaviors and beliefs of perpetrators. It is a remarkably challenging book to read. But a necessary one.New Books Network
[Ed Westermann's work provides an invaluable insight into the mindset and mentality of the everyday executioners of the racial war in the east.German History
Drawing on several decades of research into Nazi police battalions and comparative genocide, Westermann employs social, anthropological, and gender theories to create a framework that effectively analyzes the relationship between alcohol and mass murder.Journal of Military History
Drunk on Genocide is a important and terryfing book that tackles a persistent question in the study of the Holocaust and World War II: how was it possible that the Germans killed so many people and behaved so brutally in the Soviet territory they invaded and occupied?Slavic Review
Westermann's work is incredibly thoroughly researched with a rich amount of survivor testimony that gives voice to the victims. Drunk on Genocide is a compelling work with a well-researched argument.The Middle Ground Journal
Edward B. Westermann has now produced a book that pays tribute to all strands of research while, at the same time, highlighting an element that will need to be included in all future considerations: the stimulation of the murderers through alcohol.American Historical Review