Unit 3 Assignment 1: Preston Ito

Hannah Arendt

  • October 1906-December 1975
  • German-Jewish philosopher and political theorist 
  • Bold in asking unpopular questions about the thoughtlessness embrace of science
  • Worked with Youth Aliyah to rescue Jewish youth in France
  • First woman professor at Princeton
    • Also taught at UChic, UC Berkeley, Wesleyan U, The New School
  • Wrote The Origins of Totalitarianism in 1951 about the foundations of the Nazi and Stalinist regimes
  • Wrote The Human Condition, her own account of retreat from public life
  • Wrote Revolution in 1963 about American’s foundational democracy and political freedom
  • Received backlash for her controversial views



Arendt wrote the book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil

  • Argues that Eichmann (Eichmann was a Nazi official, responsible for the detention and transportation of Jews to concentration camps) was not a monster. She claims that his motives didn’t root from a place of hatred.
    • Eichmann was a joiner. He feared to live a life with no direction and leader. The Nazi movement brought a sense of importance to him.
  • She saw that modern society fears the “disorderly life of democratic freedoms and embraces the comfortable security of administrative bureaucracy.”
  • Neither denies nor claims Eichmann was evil
  • Believed Eichmann should’ve been hanged for his evil deeds
  • She claimed Eichmann participated in the greatest evil act in the history of mankind because of his fear of being isolated overruling his ability to critically assess the devasting consequences of the Nazi movement


Adolf Eichmann

  • A major leader in the Holocaust
  • Initially resisted the violent movement against the Jews 
  • Participated in the greatest evil act in the history of mankind because of his inability 
  • Hanged by the State of Israel
  • Worked as a traveling salesman prior to World War II
  • After being captured and questioned, he claimed he wasn’t anti-semitic
  • Eichmann claimed that he actually sought to physically avoid the killings 



The Origins of Totalitarianism

  • Structured into 3 essays: Anti-semitism, Imperialism, and Totalitarianism  
  • Discussed history and foundational role that anti-semitism and imperialism had in the rise of totalitarianism
  • The mistake of equating nationalism and imperialism
  • Appeal to giving in to totalitarianism is protection from isolation, danger, and insecurity
  • Totalitarian regimes instilled fear with the inevitability of war


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