This introductory chapter sets out the book's focus, namely the constitutive rather than the destructive side of mass murder, and discusses how the perpetration and support of the Holocaust provided Germans with a particular sense of national belonging. When Germans carried out genocidal war against the Jews and other “undesirables” in order to realize the utopia of a purified nation, they experienced togetherness, cohesion, and belonging, and deluded themselves into believing they would attain a homogenous and harmonious social body, cleansed of pollution, conflict, and inner enemies. The Nazis called this social body a Volksgemeinschaft, a people's community. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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