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The language of summary

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An important feature of summary writing is what is called attributive language (e.g. "Brietman refers to..."; "Browning's view is that..."). You will notice that this type of language is used frequently in the student's summary of Breitman.

Write down three examples of attributive expressions from the student's text. (The first has been included as an example.) Why do you think these expressions are so important?

[1] Breitman, in his article Plans for the Final Solution, refers to the controversy about the origins of the Holocaust as the "intentionalist-functionalist" debate; that is one between those who think the Holocaust was a preconceived Nazi plan, and those who think it was improvised hastily, notably after early German victories in the Soviet Union in mid-1941. [2] Brietman, in contrast to Browning, is very much an 'intentionalist', arguing that the 'murderous intentions' of Hitler, Himmler and other key Nazis were well underway before the invasion of the Soviet Union. [3] Whilst he admits that many of the Nazi documents on this issue are "inexact", he suggests that this is not because the Holocaust plan itself was uncertain, but rather because the Nazi leadership wanted to "conceal" and "veil" its real intentions from others (p. 271). [4] To support his case for pre-planning, Breitman relies on two main sources of evidence: memos from two officials in the Nazi Jewish Office at the time - Adolf Eichmann and Theodore Dannecker; and the Nuremberg testimony of Viktor Brack, an official in the Fuhrer Chancellery

[5] The memos in question indicate that high-level discussion of some form of 'final solution' did take place early in 1941. [6] Danneker's memo in January 1941 disclosed that Hitler wanted a 'final solution' of the Jewish question. [7] A month later, Eichmann in a meeting at the Propaganda Office announced to rival bureaucrats that Hitler was determined to implement a 'final evacuation' of the Jews....

Sample attributive expressions:

  • Breitman, in his article "Plans for the Final Solution", refers to...

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Attributive expressions are important because they:

  1. show clearly whose ideas you are dealing with at this point in your essay, e.g. Breitman recalls...
  2. indicate the mode of argumentation being used by the writer, e.g. refers to, argues, supports his case, etc.

Attributive expressions in the sample summary are highlighted and shown in bold.

Breitman, in his article Plans for the Final Solution, refers to the controversy about the origins of the Holocaust as the "intentionalist-functionalist" debate; that is one between those who think the Holocaust was a preconceived Nazi plan, and those who think it was improvised hastily, notably after early German victories in the Soviet Union in mid-1941. Brietman, in contrast to Browning, is very much an 'intentionalist', arguing that the 'murderous intentions' of Hitler, Himmler and other key Nazis were well underway before the invasion of the Soviet Union. Whilst he admits that many of the Nazi documents on this issue are "inexact", he suggests that this is not because the Holocaust plan itself was uncertain, but rather because the Nazi leadership wanted to "conceal" and "veil" its real intentions from others (p. 271). To support his case for pre-planning, Breitman relies on two main sources of evidence: memos from two officials in the Nazi Jewish Office at the time - Adolf Eichmann and Theodore Dannecker; and the Nuremberg testimony of Viktor Brack, an official in the Fuhrer Chancellery

The memos in question indicate that high-level discussion of some form of 'final solution' did take place early in 1941. Danneker's memo in January 1941 disclosed that Hitler wanted a 'final solution' of the Jewish question. A month later, Eichmann in a meeting at the Propaganda Office announced to rival bureaucrats that Hitler was determined to implement a 'final evacuation' of the Jews....

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