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WARRANT FOR GENOCIDE [Paperback]

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4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 2006
In a fascinating work of historical and literary detection, Norman Cohn unravels the origins of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the enormously influential literary forgery that served as a cornerstone of Nazi propaganda. Warrant for Genocide sets the story of the Protocols within the broader context of the history of anti-Semitism and remains one of the key books for understanding the murderous folly of the twentieth century.

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From Publishers Weekly

The myth of Jews as children of the Devil, mysterious, uncanny and possessed of sinister powers, has persisted since the second century, when they were accused of killing Christian children, torturing the consecrated wafer and poisoning wells. In his history of the demonizing of Jewry, British academic Cohn (The Pursuit of the Millennium), describes the modern adaptation of that myth as promulgated through the turn-of-the-century forgery "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." This document was purported to plan Jewish domination of the globe through control of political parties, banks, the press and public opinion, "casting a net of gold and steel around the world." Although soon to be proven a blatant hoax by the Berne trial in 1935, the "Protocols" sold 120,000 copies in Germany in one year and helped convince 17 million Germans to vote Nazi in 1933. Cohn shows how the fiction of a Jewish conspiracy then combined with volkisch-racist ideology to produce the Holocaust: civilization needed to be rescued from this dark, earthbound race by the "world of good, of light, incarnated in blond, blue-eyed people" marching under the sun-god's symbol, the swastika. This, Cohn argues, with convincing evidence, was the justification used for murdering two thirds of all the Jews in Europe. Long out of print, Cohn's book, complete with a new afterword and extended extracts from the "Protocols" in the appendix, is a well-documented, accessible introduction to a key factor in the history of the Holocaust.

Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

Cohn here does a little literary detection as he unravels the history of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forged volume that allegedly laid out a plan for Jewish world domination. Though a fake, the Protocols nonetheless was at the root of a great deal of anti-Semitism in Europe and elsewhere and was quite popular in the Third Reich. "This important work is well written and thoroughly documented, and should be available in even the smallest library" (LJ
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
The Foreword identifies the antisemitism that resulted in the Shoah/Holocaust as a demonological superstition. Cohn reminds us of the underworld where fanatics propagate insanities disguised as ideas that are eagerly embraced by the superstitious & stupid. Occasionally it emerges from the subterranean domain to captivate normally sane people, unleashing the most destructive impulses in mankind. Such a time is now, again, unfortunately. The Internet is facilitating this phenomenon.

Cohn sees the origins of the myth of a Jewish world conspiracy in the 2nd to 4th centuries in Chrysostom and Augustine. Before them was Melito of Sardis. The "Church Fathers" invented the idea that the antichrist would be Jewish. Cohn is silent about those notorious passages in the New Testament that are so thoroughly examined by William Nichols. The next wave of demonization hit in the 12th century, same time that the cult of the Black Madonna resurfaced. The outbreak from about 1850 was a blend of ancient subconscious terrors & anxieties triggered by modernity's fruits of democracy, liberalism & secularism.

Leftist antisemitism of a different nature existed in the French & German socialist movements but the root of the Protocols go back to Barruel's 1797 book about a Judeo-Masonic conspiracy. The phenomenon became more antisemitic with Hermann Goedsche's 1868 pulp novel Biarritz that contained a chapter first published in Russian newspapers in 1872.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended Feb. 21 2002
Format:Paperback
When you read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion the first thing you wonder is how could anybody have taken them seriously. Yet that's exactly what thousands of people did - and not only ignorant Russian peasants but also scholars and intellectuals from all kinds of backgrounds and nationalities. The origins of the myth of the Jewish world-conspiracy and its devastating effects are clearly explained by Norman Cohn in this fascinating book. What originated as a fabrication concocted by a few obscure fanatics, eventually became a major influence in the treatment Jews received in Russia and Germany. Jewry, imagined as a closely organised, world-wide political power was seen as an embodiment of modernity, a symbol of all those forces in the modern world that the most reactionary members of society feared and hated.
The Protocols originated in France but found their most ardent adherents in Russia - a country with a well established anti-Semitic tradition - and later in Germany, where Hitler found in them a "rational" explanation for his beliefs and a justification for his actions. Save in Britain, the unmasking of the forgery in 1921 made little difference and they ultimately became a warrant for genocide during WWII, when millions of Jews were systematically exterminated by the Nazis. As Mr. Cohn puts it: "Behind the massacre as a whole there was a blind fanaticism which was largely inspired by the Protocols and the myth of the Jewish world-conspiracy."
Norman Cohn's book is populated with obscure, half-crazy, half-criminal political adventurers who used this ridiculous fake as a device for obtaining influence, privilege and power. His well documented and brilliantly written analysis of the origins and effects of the Protocols is an essential work for understanding the extreme anti-Semitism that led to the murder of millions of people.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good book about an important subject. March 17 2001
Format:Paperback
Cohn's study of the creation and the effect of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is enlightening, disturbing and at times maddening. He traces the beginnings of the myth, moves on to how it developed and then ends with its use. As an historical piece this book is worth reading, but its real strength is in explaining how a patently unbelievable story could have had such a devesting effect on so many people. The effected were not just the peasants of Russia but the educated class of Germany, France and other parts of Europe.
When one first understands thesis of the myth the reaction is how could anyone have believed this .... It would be akin to convincing a nation that Alice in Wonderland is an accurate description of a little girls journey. However, the historical truth is that thousands if not millions relied on the myth as a framework that led to the holocaust. Nations used the myth as a framework for policies and laws. What becomes clear is that no matter how unbelievable the story is that many believed it and acted on it. Given this historical fact, Cohn's book can best be seen as a warning and reminder to think before one believes.
This is a good book about an important subject.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One excellente book. Jan. 30 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is more than a simple history about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, it is a very interesting way to understand how fanatics and crazy men move peoples and countries to hate and kill another people. The title of this book is very explicit : " Warrant for Genocide ".
The exposition of the book is very clear, from first times of cristianism when the antisemitism started to our days, when still today groups of new nazis or fascists , including Ku-Klux-Klan and skin heads , believe in one imaginary " secret jewish world government ". Nietzsche wrotte :
" But the clown imagen of these sick spirits, of these paranoic of ideas, influences over the mass. Humanity prefers see stupids faces rather than to hear reasons ".
Great !!!, Nietzsche wrotte this 50 years before Hitler spechees.
Precisally Protocols of the Elders of Zion are a perfect example about how supertision, fanatism, no tolerance, can influence to people to kill or at least to be partner of the crime. Today we know that even Catholic Chruch cooperate with nazis and keep a ciminal silence about all the germans crimes. And the cristian bases of antisemitism, is more clear reading this book, in fact, the first " discover " of Protocols of the Elders of Zion was Sergey A. Nilus, a cristian priest.
One of the principals points of view of this book is how people don`t think, don`t analize, don`t see, people just " believe " in a blind way. For exampe, was stupid the nazi believing that Elders of Zion cause the First World War and the germany defeat, this war was a product of complex socials, economic and politics conditions. But fanatics don`t understand real causes.
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