Holocaust: Nazi Germany and Asch s. Essay example

Submitted By bloobytsy
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Holocaust in 1939-1945
By Bloobytsy For Communication Dr. ### July 19, 2012

2 Introduction Although our world has seen many events occur which defy explanation and simply boggle the mind, thus far none has matched the Holocaust in the intensity and sheer damage that it caused the world and more significantly the Jewish population of Europe. The Holocaust comes from the Greek Holokauston, an animal sacrifice where the whole 'Holos' animal is completely burnt 'kauston'. Even though, since the 1960's this term is officially used by scholars to refer to the genocide of Jews, the Jews prefer to refer to it as 'Shoah'(meaning 'calamity') due to the theologically offensive meaning of the word Holocaust. Yet, to this day who should be blamed for the Holocaust has still been an open question. Yes, it was Hitler's original plan and idea but was he the only one behind it ? All along it was the idea that the Jews had been the downfall of the German empire and something has to be done about them. A large factor in these ideas was the use of Tasks Forces ( Einzatsgruppen) and Police detachments behind the Army Front in clearing out and containing the Jewish populations in Ghettos or simply to eliminate them. Everyone nowadays has a vague analysis and understanding of the Holocaust. The views about the killers are various. Psychologists and sociologist with the help of some famous historians studied the behaviors of the killers and through their different experiments they tried to explained those behaviors. One the other side, the victims of the Holocaust ave their own opinion about their murderers. General approach of the killers Battalion 101 or 101 Unit Policemen and officers were middle-aged family men from Hamburg on reserve duty and had no battle experience. Most were working class men (63%). The men worked at typical working class jobs such as truck drivers, dock-workers, warehouse and construction workers, machine operators, sailors and waiters, etc. Some were lower middle class (35%), working, for example, as small-businessmen, artisans, government workers and salesmen. Another 2% were middle

3 class professionals, such as teachers or druggists. These men were not any specially indoctrinated bunch of Nazis, but rather drafted men not capable of serving in the regular forces. Their average age was 39, meaning that they were too old for the regular army and, therefore, after 1939 they were conscripted into the reserves (Browning, 1992). Their job was to proceed to the killings of thousands of Jews. At first they did not know what was about to happen. They arrived at Jozefow and their commandant, Papa Trapp as he was called by his men, told them what they were ordered to do. Also, he made an extraordinary offer : if any of the older men among them did not feel up to the task that lay before him, he could step out (Browning,1992). Despite this offer 90% of the men proceeded to the killings. Jozefow was only the beginning for the Reserve Battalion 101. Milgram's Psychological Approach of the killers Psychologist Stanley Milgram (1974) famously demonstrated that entirely normal people will show obedience to the instructions of an authority figure even when these conflict with their own conscience and appear to result in the suffering of an innocent other. Key to Milgram’s analysis was the claim that when individuals interpret a situation as properly governed by authority relations, they cease to act autonomously, undergoing ‘agentic shift’, which also relieves them of feelings of responsibility for the consequences of the orders they follow. The 'Ordinary Men' as Christopher Browning calls them in his book Ordinary Men : Reserve Battalion 101 and Final Solution in Poland, did not always enjoy the shootings. They shoot because they had to do so. At that time, Nazis were at the top of the German empire and Hitler loved his people. He increased salaries and reduced taxes and this was some sort of “pressure” as described by one