The University of Wisconsin Press

European History / German Studies / World War II / Judaica


An Uncompromising Generation
The Nazi Leadership of the Reich Security Main Office
Michael Wildt
Translated by Tom Lampert

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George L. Mosse Series in Modern European Cultural and Intellectual History

"Michael Wildt's examination of the leadership corps of Himmler's 'Reich Security Main Office' . . . is a major work in every sense."—Richard Bessel, The Times Literary Supplement

In An Uncompromising Generation, Michael Wildt follows the journey of a strikingly homogenous group of young academics—who came from the educated, bourgeois stratum of society—as they started to identify with the Nazi concept of Volksgemeinschaft, which labeled Jews as enemies of the people and justified their murder.

Wildt's study traces the intellectual evolution of key members of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) from their days as students until the end of World War II. Established in 1939, this office fused together the Gestapo, the Criminal Police, and the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) of the SS. Far from being small cogs in a big bureaucratic machine, Wildt finds that the people who made up the RSHA constructed the concepts and operated the apparatus that carried out the Holocaust.

At the center of both theory and practice of persecution and genocide in Nazi-occupied Europe, these young men of the RSHA—none of whom envisioned the systematic annihilation of the European Jews—became radicalized. How this occurred is the central question of Wildt's book. Wildt also discusses the postwar careers of the members of the RSHA. Strikingly, he shows how the leaders of the RSHA evaded the consequences of their actions under the Nazi regime and went on to have important careers in the rebuilt West Germany.

Michael Wildt is a research fellow at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research and associate professor of modern history at the University of Hamburg, Germany. Tom Lampert is a freelance translator and writer who lives in Bad Kreuznach, Germany.

Visit Michael Wildt's Web site at

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An Uncompromising Generation is a book with a white cover. The title information is in black and red. Seven photos of Nazis reach across the cover, in blood red. Spatters of blood behind them.

January 2010

LC: 2009014310 DD
592 pp.   6 x 9  
29 b/w photos

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Paper $36.95 a
ISBN 978-0-299-23464-5
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Translation was supported by a grant from the Goethe-Institut and the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs
German edition, Generation des Unbedingten, published by Hamburger Edition, 2002, was honored as the "Historical Book of 2002" by German H-Ne

"Michael Wildt has undoubtedly written an authoritative study of the RSHA, that will, for years to come, be a great aid for historical research concerning National Socialist Germany."
—Saul Friedlander, author of When Memory Comes

"Wildt's exceptionally well-written book is easily accessible."
—Alexander Arndt, Jewish Political Studies Review

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Updated July 20, 2011

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