Joining us on Between the Lines this episode is Professor Sir Simon Wessely. We discuss Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland by Christopher Browning (1992).
Ordinary Men is the true story of Reserve Police Battalion 101 of the German Order Police, which was responsible for mass shootings as well as round-ups of Jewish people for deportation to Nazi death camps in Poland in 1942. Browning argues that most of the men of RPB 101 were not fanatical Nazis but, rather, ordinary middle-aged, working-class men who committed these atrocities out of a mixture of motives, including the group dynamics of conformity, deference to authority, role adaptation, and the altering of moral norms to justify their actions.
Ordinary Men is a powerful, chilling, and important work with themes and arguments that continue to resonate today.