Aliza Cantor Unit 3 Assignment 1

Hannah Arendt:

  • Can one do evil without being evil?
  • Critics believed she focused more on who rather than the what

  • Those committing evil acts are dull, they are not as complex as the acts they are committing
  • The focus is put on the repercussions of the acts themselves, and the people that committed them are punished for them
  • Published Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil in 1963
  • Eichman lacked intentions, he didn’t think about the things he was doing
  • Intentions = to think reflectively about one’s own action as a political being, whose own life and thinking is bound up with the life and thinking of others
  • Crime committed in some sense “banal” = committed daily, systematically

Adolf Eichmann:

  • Nazi operative responsible for organising the transportation of millions of Jews and others to various concentration camps in support of the Nazi’s Final Solution
  • Performed evil deeds without evil intentions
  • Not inherently evil, just shallow and clueless
    •  A ‘joiner’ = joined Nazi’s in search of purpose

  • Hung by state of Israel for his part in Holocaust
  • Joined Nazi party in 1932
  • Present for the big decisions during the Holocaust
  • After being captured, he portrayed himself as someone that was just carrying out their duties, that he did not really agree on

The Origins of Totalitarianism:

  • Purpose is to understand Totalitarianism
  • Based on research and writing done in the 1940’s
  • Arendt wanted to understand the origin of Totalitarianism not the meaning or causes

  • First two parts of book gave background on anti-Semitism and European imperialism 
  • Third part she explored and delved deeper into both
  • Totalitarianism was accepted because it solved some of a country’s problems, and people did not give it another look

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