MY LAI MASSACRE AS A RESULT OF OBEDIENCE TO AUTHORITY. Relates to stanly milgrams experiments and how authority play a part in genocide killings.

Essay by blazinprboCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2002

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The Vietnam controversy made many people feel at distress. It was never considered a "war," although that is exactly what it was. The My Lai Massacre in Vietnam was one of the many atrocities of that war. There is an unquestionable connection between Milgram's "Obedience to Authority" and the My Lai Massacre.

According to Kelman & Hamilton, "Unquestioning obedience has been the cause of such disasters as the My Lai massacre and the Holocaust. People need to resist the dangerous web of influence from strong personalities in fields such as politics, religion and the mass media who become the objects of their idolatry. To become less susceptible to the irrational persuasive power of such personalities, individuals should develop a sense of self-respect and practice critical thinking" (Kelman & Hamilton). In cases such as the My Lai Massacre, the soldiers were not just following the thoughts of a politician or religious figure.

They followed their military leader, the same person they counted on for leadership and survival.

"Soldiers are trained to always follow orders, never question orders (When I say jump, u you say how high). But that belief is somewhat erroneous, the charge to the soldier is to obey any lawful order given (Schwalbe). "Absolute obedience, although not wholeheartedly embraced in official military pronouncements, is nevertheless unanimously praised in combat context (Peppers). Some military scholars call the modern version of military discipline "enlightened obedience." Enlightened obedience

springs from a belief on the part of the subordinate that his superior's orders are authoritative and valid (Peppers)."

A classic example of the power of authoritative factors is provided by Stanley Milgram's study on obedience to authority. College students from Yale University were asked to participate in an experiment to test the effects...