Library of Social Science is offering a series of eBooks
based on Richard Koenigsberg’s highly acclaimed
Nations Have the Right to Kill: Hitler, the Holocaust and War

EBook #1: The Logic of the Holocaust.

The Holocaust derived
from the logic of war

Goebbels declared on June 5, 1943, “The laws of war are harsh. Millions of Germans today have to be ready to die on the battlefield.” Hitler stated that he was willing to send the pick of the German people into war “without regret for the shedding of valuable German blood.”

However, then Hitler reflected: “When I send the flower of German youth into the steel hail of war without feeling the slightest regret over the precious German blood that is being spilled, should I not also have the right to eliminate millions of an inferior race that multiplies like vermin?”

If the German nation had the right to send its own soldiers to die, why would it not also have the right to send Jews—enemies of the German people—to their death? The logic of the Holocaust derived from the logic of warfare.

Kent D. Shifferd on Koenigsberg’s sacrificial theory of warfare in
From War to Peace: A Guide to the Next Hundred Years (2011)

“It is disturbing to consider how the minds of young men are manipulated to get them to kill. But there is an even more disturbing hypothesis. Scholar Richard Koenigsberg argues that war is the result of a desire on the part of a society to sacrifice its own young men. Koenigsberg recasts the perception of war as normative, glorious and honorable. War is about the production of corpses and mutilated bodies. While men say they go to war for honor, or territory, or self-defense, or empire, in fact they go to war to prove that the nation is real.

“In war, Koenigsberg writes, ‘actual human bodies are sacrificed in the name of perpetuating a magical entity, the body politic. Sacrificial acts affirm the existence of this sacred object, the nation. Entering into battle is a devotional act, with death in war the supreme act of devotion.’ Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg of ‘The last full measure of devotion,’ what we commonly call the ‘supreme sacrifice.’ How close are we to admitting the truth of this terrible hypothesis?”