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To what extent has Arno Mayer understood the Holocaust As the sun prepares to set on yet another century of humanity it is a time to reflect on the hallmarks that have changed our society either through good or bad Unfortunately the event that produced the greatest change was also the darkest in our brief history This event was the Holocaust Historians today continue to puzzle at its origins and have formulated several theories in an attempt to explain what was the Holocaust However its mystery lies hidden in the understanding of it Recently Jewish American historian Arno Mayer has emerged as a possible candidate to solve this genocidal riddle Mayer who escaped the wrathful clutches of Nazism utilises both is Jewish background and his current historical knowledge to fertilise his interpretation of the Holocaust He argues that the Judeocide Holocaust was a cataclysm of infamies which resulted from Germanys failure in a all-or-nothing war with Russian therefore it was a propitiatory act and an act of vengeance Mayer conceptualises the holocaust as three inseparable developments the formation of the Nazi regime and the construction of the foundations of National Socialism the gigantic military crusade against Soviet Russia and communism and thirdly how the debilitating repercussions of this crusade led to the genesis of the Holocaust Finally he reflects on how the memory of the Holocaust has become restricted and distorted by examining its sectarian dimensions of selective remembering and selective forgetting As he himself states in the prologue of his book Why did the heavens not darken I have tried not only to contemplate the circumstances in which millions of Jews -along with millions of non-Jews- were reduced to dust in the seconds of historical time but also to recapture the evanescent light of their torment to illuminate the historical landscape in which it occurred In todays world the word Holocaust has divergent meanings -death tyranny devastation etc- which can be
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