Doris L. Bergen is an extremely knowledgeable Professor of Holocaust studies and an astute author who focuses on many different aspects of the Holocaust and World War II. She has proven to be multi-faceted in her literature. Bergen’s ability to reach a wide range of readers is evident, when looking at two of her different pieces of written work, “War and Genocide” and “German Military Chaplains in WWII and the Dilemmas of Legitimacy. ” She skillfully attracts the attention of her targeted audience and delivers her message in an easily comprehensible manner.
The Holocaust and WWII are two major events in world history that Bergen explores in both her book and essay. “War and Genocide” provides a comprehensive overview of the Holocaust. Bergen brings clarity and insight to readers so they have a better understanding of the events leading up to World War II and the evolution of genocide. While the main topic of the essay is the same, Bergen’s purpose here is to explore other facets of this subject, by presenting a somewhat overlooked perspective to her audience. She delves into the legitimacy, purpose, and actions of the military chaplains in Germany.
“War and Genocide” covers a broad range of facts and information pertaining to the Holocaust and it is primarily intended for college students, novices on the subject, as well as the people who simply cannot fathom such a calamity. “German Military Chaplains,” on the other hand, was written for historians, professionals, and other curious learners who already have a sufficient understanding about these events. Writing for two completely different types of audiences demands creativity in both the style of writing as well as the approach.
Bergen understands that readers with little or no knowledge about the Holocaust may lose interest if the content the book is “over their heads” or above their level of understanding. That is why she begins her book with this simple analogy, “In order for a house to burn down, three things are required. The timber must be dry and combustible, there needs to be a spark that ignites it, and external conditions have to be favorable-not too damp, perhaps some wind. ” (War and Genocide” 1) She chose to include numerous headings, subtitles, photographs (with captions), and footnotes in the book, unlike the essay, which has none of these.
Instead, “German Military Chaplains” contains an extensive compilation of references for each chapter. In this piece of work, Bergen chose to grasp her colleague’s attention in a different manner. Knowing beforehand that her readers might simply skim the first paragraph, before deciding it was worth their time to read, she cleverly inserted a few eye-catching words and phrases, such as “sexually transmitted diseases,” “So you’re a pastor? ,” and “We don’t need one of them” (“German Military Chaplains” 1) within the first four sentences.
Having a vast amount of knowledge in a particular area of research is fundamental for an author; Bergen definitely possesses that kind of knowledge, but her versatility is what makes her such a successful author. She knows what material her target audience craves and knows just how to get the message across, regardless of their level of comprehension. Works Cited Bergen, D. L. (2001). German military chaplains in World War II and the dilemmas of legitimacy. Church History,70(2) Bergen, D. L. (2009). War and Genocide: A concise history of the holocaust. Rowman & Littlefield. second edition