A book talk with author Edward B. Westermann (Texas A&M University San Antonio, History).
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.
Cornell University Press in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Edward B. Westermann is Professor of History at Texas A&M University—San Antonio, a Commissioner on the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission, and author, most recently, of Hitler's Ostkrieg and the Indian Wars.
ABOUT THE DISCUSSANT
Brian J. Griffith is the inaugural Eugen and Jacqueline Weber Post-Doctoral Scholar in European History at University of California, Los Angeles. His interests include modern Europe, modern Italy, Fascism, consumerism, (trans)national identities, and the digital humanities.
ABOUT THE SERIES
Interwar Crisis: Europe, 1918-1939 is the public facing, student authored weblog of a modern European history course which is being taught by Dr. Brian J Griffith at University of California, Los Angeles during the Spring 2021 quarter (March 29-June 11, 2021). The course, which shares the same name as this Open Access volume, explores the various political, economic, social, and cultural upheavals which took place in Europe between the two world wars, and asks its participants to consider the various parallels between developments during the 1920s and 1930s and today’s international community.
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