After another sumptuous buffet breakfast, we boarded our bus for visits to three very different memorials: the Bavarian Quarter memorial, the Grunewald train station memorial, and the Wannsee House. As we drove to our first stop, Mr. Barmore had us revisit some information from yesterday: the fact that modernization had come late to Germany, she had experienced an accelerated pace of development, she had had a fast and disastrous downfall with her loss in World War I, and was a society in crisis. He told us that Nazism was an offshoot of World War I as the people were so disgusted with their fall from power. And we learned that Communists had also tried to foment a revolution in Germany. The crisis in Germany society lent itself to extremist ideologies as the people tried to cope with their situation. Mr. Barmore said that in the American system, things were explained by ‘the American way’: using the Constitution and American values, if you do things the right way you will succeed. The Nazis, he said, insisted that it was not a process, but the blood, that will provide success. The difference between the American system and Nazism was the freedom to choose. With the United States, one could choose how to act, but in Nazism, there was no choice as one could not change one’s blood. Democracy depends on choice, he said, which is one of its strengths and one of its weaknesses.
We learned that it was a process which consisted of three phases. Historians had long struggled to understand the process and they fell into two schools of thought. Intentionalists believed that there was a straight line between Nazi ideology and the killings. The other school of thought, the functionalists reasoned that if it was a straight line, there should be references to the killings in early Nazi documents. Yet, historians could not discern anything about anniliation in reports of early years. Today, most historicans accept the functionalist view which holds that Nazi policy evolved "a twisted road to Auschwitz"due to changing circumstances in three phases. This means, said Mr. Barmore, that if the functionalist view is correct at each phase of the Holocaust things could have been done to avert it, making individual and national inactions more troubling.