Was the extermination of the Jews part of the Nazi plan from the very start? Arno Mayer offers a startling and compelling answer to this question, which is much debated among historians today. In doing so, he provides one of the most thorough and convincing explanations of how the genocide came about in Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?, which provoked widespread interest and controversy when first published.
Mayer demonstrates that, while the Nazis anti-Semitism was always virulent, it did not become genocidal until well into the Second World War, when the failure of their massive, all-or-nothing campaign against Russia triggered the Final Solution. He details the steps leading up to this enormity, showing how the institutional and ideological frameworks that made it possible evolved, and how both related to the debacle in the Eastern theater. In this way, the Judeocide is placed within the larger context of European history, showing how similar holy causes in the past have triggered analogous if far less cataclysmic infamies.