Sam Heie: Unit 3, Assignment 1

Hannah Arendt’s concept “Banality of Evil” and her book The Origins of Totalitarianism

  • Arendt was reporting for the New Yorker in 1961 when she was reporting on the war crimes trial of Eichmann
  • The Banality of Evil describes someone who has committed atrocities without evil intention, a joiner, or someone who is disengaged from the impact of their actions. Arendt believed that Eichmann joined the Nazi Party to advance his own career, not to implement any deep seated ideological hatred
  • Fellow philosophers of then (1960’s-70’s) and now (2011) have criticized Arendt of trying to psychoanalyze Eichmann’s way out of trouble by detaching the acts from his intention
  • Her book includes three chapters/essays: Anti-Semitism, Imperialism, and Totalitarianism
  • It was later proven by a released Israeli memoir that Eichmann did in fact have racial and anti-Semitic ideologies, connecting his actions to his intent.
  • (All bullet points researched from https://aeon.co/ideas/what-did-hannah-arendt-really-mean-by-the-banality-of-evil)

Adolf Eichmann

  • Was tasked with the logistics of assigning masses of Jews to ghettos, work camps, and extermination camps, earning him the title of one of the orchestrators of the Holocaust
  • Fled to Argentina after WWII and hid until 1960 when he was captured by Israeli forces, taken to Jerusalem, tried for war crimes, and executed in 1962
  • Drafted plans for the deportation of Jews to the farthest reaches of Poland and later for the deportation of Jews to Madagascar
  • Was charged with the role of deportation of Hungarian Jews to concentration camps in Germany (primarily Auschwitz)
  • Was charged with 15 crimes, including crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people, and genocide.
  • (All bulletpoints researched from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Eichmann)

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