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One Man Making a Country Conform

Essay by   •  February 4, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,135 Words (5 Pages)  •  934 Views

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One Man, Making a Country Conform

After what the Nazis did to the Jews after World War 2 many people ask how could so many people engage in such violent and unethical behaviors? Very trained personnel managed the death camps that Jews were sent to. Running the camps were just normal German citizens. Certain German's were not selected based on hatred of Jews or anything along those lines. These Germans were just everyday people that happened to be living in Germany at this time. How could these normal people commit such treacherous acts? How can one man persuade a whole country to do what was obviously wrong? The reason people the majority of people in Germany listened to Hitler is because they were only playing a small part in the big problem. As humans we are much more likely to comply with authority if we think we are only a small piece of the puzzle and not causing the whole problem by ourselves. The holocaust did not result from bad people, it resulted from one person with authority using it to make others obey and do as he said.

After defeat in World War I Germany was in a period of Crisis. Adolf Hitler was a very authoritative figure back around that time in the 1930s and 1940s, being chancellor of Germany. According to Wikipedia, Hitler started the Nazi party in response to the Treaty of Versailles. This party emphasized nationalism and a nti-Semitism strongly throughout Germany. Murder was a way that the Nazi party handled there problems. Adolf set up many different groups to collect all the Jews, Homosexuals, and any other group that was different from the "norm". They would then be sent to concentration camps where their majority of them were killed.

Stanley Milgram did an experiment in 1961 testing random people's compliance or obedience to authority. He offered people $4.50 to help with a psychology experiment. The experiment consisted of the person asking another person, who was an actor, a question. When the actor got the question wrong they would receive a shock, that didn't hurt according to what Dr. Milgram told the people. Each question answered incorrectly would result in the shock becoming more and more watts the people were told. In all reality there was no shock, and the actor yelled and acted like it hurt so the person administering the questions would think the actor was in pain. The experiment was designed to see how high of a shock people would give when in front of an authority figure, Dr. Milgram, who would tell them to keep going no matter what. This experiment is similar, on a smaller scale, to what Adolf Hitler did during the holocaust. Hitler basically had each person playing a small part in the problem by only having them due a specific duty.

Michael Berenbaum says in The World Must Know in regard to the Holocaust, "Every arm of the country's sophisticated bureaucracy was involved in the killing process. Parish churches and the Interior Ministry supplied birth records showing who was Jewish; the Post Office delivered the deportation and denaturalization orders; the Finance Ministry confiscated Jewish property; German firms fired Jewish workers and disenfranchised Jewish stockholders; the universities refused to admit Jews, denied degrees to those already studying, and fired Jewish academics; government transport offices arranged the trains for deportation to the camps; German pharmaceutical companies tested drugs on camp prisoners; companies bid for the contracts to build the ovens". Basically Germany had every part of the country helping getting rid of people who were different. Germany was a very intelligent country at the time and it was not even that long ago when all this occurred. Everyone was listening to an authority figure, Adolf Hitler; even though good judgment would tell them what they were doing is wrong. Adolf Hitler's authority made the people of Germany overlook what they were doing during the Holocaust. This description of the holocaust is very consistent with Neil Lutsky's statement in his blog, "When an individual acts in a manner that is consistent with a properly authorized command, instruction, or rule, we commonly describe that behavior as obedient to authority". Everyone in

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