Louis Onoratini Unit 3 Post 1

“Banality of Evil”:


  • Eichmann simply joined the Nazi movement,
    • Never particularly agreed with their evil doings but helped them along
    • So can we really say that he wasn’t evil?
    • Worse than bystander but not as bad as actual doer?
  • Different levels of evil?
  • Intentions of Eichmann did not seem in the wrong place
    • Does that matter when millions died because of him?
  • If Eichmann truly wasn’t evil he would have gone against it
    • “Never react to an evil in such a way as to augment it” – Simone Weil
    • However, evil takes many forms
      • Not always recognizable at first glance

The Origins of Totalitarianism: 


  • Understanding totalitarianism 
    • Hitlerianism in Germany 
    • Stalinism in the Soviet Union
      • End of totalitarianism is concentration camps in the eyes of Arendt
  • How does tyranny come to power?
    • Through alienation of the others and strong demagogues 
  • People with no party allegiance were swayed towards anti-system parties
    • Wished to be represented in one way or another

  • Mass movements are key to totalitarianism
    • Extremely strong loyalty in these
    • Gives immense power to their leaders
      • I.e. Trump and his statement in Iowa in 2016
  • Arendt says “the road to totalitarian domination leads through many intermediate stages for which we can find numerous analogies and precedents.”
    • Important always pay attention to the rise of populist demagogues

Adolf Eichmann: 


  • Born in Germany, lived in Austria and died by hanging in Israel
    • He was convicted for his crimes during the Holocaust 
  • He was a regular salesman before his nazi life, but lost his job during the Great Depression
    • He joined in 1932 and rose through the ranks quite quickly
    • Was put in charge of getting rid of Jews in Vienna and Prague
  • In 1942 he was relocated to Berlin and was put in charge of the final solution to the Jewish problem
    • Mass execution
    • Named Chief Executioner
  • After WWII he fled to the Middle East and then to Buenos Aires, Argentina
    • There he was caught by the Israelites and brought to Israel to be judged
  • Didn’t consider himself to be an anti-semite
    • Said he was just an obedient bureaucrat
    • Said he had not violated any laws
    • He professed his discomfort regarding the gas chambers, “I was horrified. My nerves aren’t strong enough. I can’t listen to such things—such things, without their affecting me” 
  • Was he just part of something bigger than himself?
    • Or simply a professional liar?
    • Either way, his actions cannot be excused

Eichmann at his trial


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