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In the first seven chapters, Bergen clears up fundamental misconceptions by taking a closer, more systematic look into the Holocaust. By using an extensive compilation of both primary and secondary resources, she does a thorough job educating readers with the indispensable, factual events in chronological order. Bergen spends a substantial amount of time discussing Hitler’s upbringing and clears up common misconceptions in regards to his rise to power.

In addition, she feels it is of equal importance to explore the underlying elements which caused this atrocity. Therefore, the Holocaust is presented as more than just a complex and tragic event in world history, but rather as a four-step process which stemmed from Germany’s pre-existing ideology of “Race and Space. ” Bergen explores the common prejudices, insecurities and attitudes among the antisemitic Germans in order for readers to obtain a better understanding of their mindset at the time.

Regardless of their validity, she explains how fundamental those beliefs were when deciding their course of action. Learning about how they felt and what they were thinking at the time helps shed some light into the age-old question, “how could something like this happen? ” Bergen regards Nazi Germany as a severely racist regime. In addition to the notion that the Aryan race was superior, the Nazi’s, who were Social Darwinists at heart, felt threatened by various groups of people, whom they viewed as genetically inferior.

Most people with any knowledge of the Holocaust understand this as a reference to the Jewish population; However, there were non-Jewish groups, such as homosexuals, gypsies, and mentally or physically handicapped individuals who were included in the Nazi regime’s array of undesirables as well. They were seen as subhumans who were taking up their precious space, consuming their resources, and altogether useless creatures. Along with the ideas of race, Bergen notes the other important component to the German’s ideology, which was gaining lebensraum, or in other words, “living space.

” They believed that territorial expansion was necessary for their nation’s economic self-sufficiency and felt threatened by the growing overpopulation of inferior individuals. Bergen methodically pieces together all of these elements to introduce the first two phases of the Nazi era – revolution and routinization. She tells about the Nazi revolution and the advancements that they made in their efforts for racial purity. The Reichstag, the Enabling Act, Hitler’s role within the Nazi party, and the ending of all other political parties are also clarified for her audience.

This is the point in time where they had centralized power and began passing laws to support the continued segregation and violence against each group. By 1935, the Nazi plan to eliminate these offscourings of society had a firm foundation and they had moved on the to second half of their mission, which was the preparation for war and the war itself. Bergen, with careful consideration for her wording, lays out the horrific set of events taking place during this phase; They include the segregation from “true” Germans, sterilization and experimentations performed on the victims, and the euthanasia program.

She takes her readers along the journey as the Nazi’s pursued their lebensraum by establishing the Eisantzgruppen, setting up mobile killing units, and by invading neighboring territories. They launched Blitzkriegs as they moved in on the south and east regions. By the seventh chapter, their assemblage of victims increased rapidly and steadily. Concentration camps had been set up, mass murder gave birth to genocide, and German power had hit its peak.