How Could This Happen

Explaining the Holocaust

by Dan McMillan

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780465080243
  • 9780465036646
The Holocaust is the defining event of the twentieth century – and perhaps all of modern history. Yet for too long, we have ignored the vital question of how and why such a monstrous event could have happened at all. Now, in How Could This Happen, historian Dan McMillan distills the existing Holocaust research into a cogent explanation of the genocide's causes, revealing how a once progressive society like Germany could commit murder on such a massive scale. Countless barriers stand between stable societies and genocide, McMillan explains, but in Germany these buffers began to topple well before World War II. From Hitler's meteoric rise to deep-rooted European anti-Semitism to the dehumanizing effects of World War I, McMillan uncovers the many factors that made the Holocaust possible.

Persuasive and compelling, How Could This Happen illustrates how a perfect storm of bleak circumstances, malevolent ideas, and societal upheaval unleashed history's most terrifying atrocity.


  • Basic Books; April 2014
  • ISBN: 9780465036646
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: How Could This Happen
  • Author: Dan McMillan
  • Imprint: Basic Books
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780465080243
  • 9780465036646

About The Author

Dan McMillan is an independent historian who earned his Ph.D. in German history from Columbia University under Fritz Stern. He is fluent in German, and studied at the Free University in Berlin. He taught history at the college level for several years, including at Eastern Illinois University, before leaving academia to get his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law.

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780465080243
  • 9780465036646