Unit 3 Assignment 1 Elizabeth Vair

Hannah Arendt

  • “Banality of Evil”
    • “…acts of evil can mushroom into monumental tragedies, the individual human perpetrators of those acts are often marked not with the grandiosity of the demonic but with absolute mundanity.”
    • “The essence of totalitarian government, and perhaps the nature of every bureaucracy, is to make functionaries and mere cogs in the administrative machinery out of men, and thus to dehumanize them.”
  • Origins of Totalitarianism
    • “She viewed the growth of totalitarianism as the outcome of the disintegration of the traditional nation-state.”
    • She believed totalitarian regimes revolutionized the social structure and made contemporary politics impossible to predict
    • In this work, Arendt describes and analyzes Nazism and Stalinism in the early 20th century
    • Published in English in 1951 and German in 1955
    • Structured as 3 essays: Antisemitism, Imperialism, and Totalitarianism 

Adolf Eichmann

  • According to Hannah Arendt, Eichmann embodied the banality of evil
  • Hanged in the state of Israel for his role in the holocaust 
  • Became a member of Heinrich Himmler’s SS in November 1932 and joined the terrorist school of the Austrian Legion at Lechfeld, Germany in 1933
  • Sent to Vienna after the annexation of Austria in 1938 to rid the city of Jews and was also sent to Prague a year later with the same mission
  • When transferred to Berlin, he was to coordinate the details of the logistics of what the Nazis called the “final solution to the Jewish question.”
    • Organized the identification, assembly, and transportation of Jews from occupied Europe 
  • Smuggled out of Argentina by the Israeli secret service and tried in Israel 3 years after the holocaust 
  • He portrayed himself as an “obedient bureaucrat who merely carried out his assigned duties.”

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