Mini Research Post by Lilly Sandoval

How Hannah Arendt’s classic work on totalitarianism illuminates today’s America

What did Hannah Arendt really mean by the banality of evil?

  • -Main Question: Can one do evil without being evil?
  • – Adolf Eichmann had no cruel intent , he simply wanted to advance his ranks- the fact he was so normal yet was apart of something so cruel is astounding
  • -‘thoughtlessness’- a disengagement from the reality of his evil acts
  • -clueless of the evil acts he was doing 
  • – Arendt missed a key part of studying Eichman’s evil by not delving into the nature of evil itself 
  • -” Arendt never did reconcile her impressions of Eichmann’s bureaucratic banality with her earlier searing awareness of the evil, inhuman acts of the Third Reich”

White, Thomas. “What Did Hannah Arendt Really Mean by the Banality of Evil? – Thomas White: Aeon Ideas.” Aeon, Aeon, 16 Oct. 2019,

Adolf Eichman-German Military Official 

  • -hung by the state of Israel for his part in the Holocaust 
  • -Joined the Nazi Part in April of 1932 and started to rise in the hierarchy 
  • -had been a salesman , apart of an oil company, until he lost his job during the great depression 
  • -Conference in January of 1942 to find the “final solution” to the situation regarding Jews 
  • -he was lead executioner and had organized identifying,assembling and  transporting Jews to the concentration camps 
  • -captured by U.S. troops, escaped in 1946 and dodged in and out of the Middle East for many years
  • – captured by Israel in 1960 
  • – in trial he portrayed himself as an obedient bureaucrat 

Berenbaum, Michael. “Adolf Eichmann.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.,

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