Revised Methodology

To produce a genuinely comprehensive guide to Nazi Germany, one must not only cover all key components of the Third Reich, but to do it in a uniform way. To achieve this all-important objective, I developed a unique and highly efficient research methodology that became the basis for this blog (and my book).

Not surprisingly (as history is all about knowledge management) this is the methodology of uncovering, collecting, structuring and presenting knowledge (i.e. information that has value) about certain aspects (components) of Nazi Germany and its history.

History is about properly covering three broad categories of objects (yes, object-oriented approach is as applicable to history as it is to software development): events (the Holocaust, Word War II, Nazi revolution, etc.) and organizations or systems (NSDAP, SS, Wehrmacht, the whole Nazi Germany, etc.). Consequently, to properly cover all these categories of objects, one needs not one but three different methodologies.

To properly cover key Nazi Germany – related events, it is necessary to first assemble a comprehensive list of all actors (individuals and organizations) whose decisions and actions made these events happen.

Then it is necessary to describe who did what when (in other words who made decisions and performed actions that made the event in question happen). And, of course, why (in other words what were the intended and actual consequences of these decisions and actions and if they were different – why).

Then it will be necessary, of course, to pronounce the functional judgement on these decisions and actions (every genuine historian is an analyst whose job is to make functional judgements).

In other words, it is necessary to answer the fundamental question – were the decisions and/or actions in question the best under those circumstances, constraints and resources and if they were not then what would have been the best course of action given the mentality of the actor and the circumstances in question.

History is a science, not propaganda; consequently, a genuine historian must never ever make moral judgements about decisions and/or actions of historical actors. He or she must, however, make legal judgements – whether decisions and/or actions in question constituted a crime (i.e. a war crime, a crime against humanity, etc.).

No less obviously, all analysis and conclusions must be based not on emotions (positive or negative), sympathy or antipathy but strictly on indisputable facts, rock-solid logic and good old common sense.

 

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