That's a claim that Finkelstein has an argument. It doesn't tell me what Finkelstein's argument is...
> "'The most refined shedders of blood,' Dostoyevsky long ago
>recognized, 'have been almost always the most highly civilized gentlemen,'
>to whom the official criminal misfits 'could not have held a candle.'
>Indeed, fixating as it does on the pathologically criminal, *Hitler's
>Willing Executioners* fails to even grasp, let alone resolve, the central
>mystery of the Nazi holocaust: how, under particular historical
>circumstances, ordinary men and women, as well as the 'civilized
>gentlemen' who lead nations, can commit history's greatest crimes."
>(Finkelstein in *A Nation on Trial*, p. 100.)
Goldhagen does grasp the central question of the Nazi holocaust--"how, under particular historical circumstances, ordinary men and women, as well as the 'civilized gentlemen' who lead nations, can commit history's greatest crimes." He grasps it well, and provides an answer: that mid-twentieth century German society was steeped in eliminationist anti-semitism.
I think that Goldhagen's answer is wrong.
But Finkelstein's claim that Goldhagen does not wrestle with the question of "how, under particular historical circumstances, ordinary men and women... can commit history's greatest crimes" seems to me to be simply false. Goldhagen's answer is not wrong because he fails to grasp the central mystery. It is wrong for other, very different reasons.