Society's Influence on Morals. How the Germans were psycologically capable of killing the Jews during WWII

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 1997

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The atrocities of the Holocaust have prompted much inquiry by researchers to

understand how humans can behave so cruelly toward their fellow man. Theories have

been formed that cite the men of Battalion 101 as "exceptions" or men with "faulty

personalities," when, in fact, they were ordinary men. The people who attempted to

perform a genocide were the same people as you and me with the only difference being

the environment in which they worked. The behavior of the men in Battalion 101 was not

abnormal human behavior, rather, their actions are testament to the premise that when

humans are exposed to certain environmental and psychological conditions, extreme

brutality is highly apt to occur.

The members of the Police Battalion 101 had the same ideas and influences as the

rest of the German citizens. Because of the racist teachings produced by the German

government, the entire German society was uniform under the belief that they were the

master race.

The German were taught that anyone different from their own kind (white

Anglo-Saxon Protestant) needed to be removed from their society in order for it to

prosper. The Police Battalion men shared the same beliefs as everyone else, but they had

to perform the dirty work of killing approximately 83,000 Jews. Christopher Browning

states in his book, Ordinary Men, that, "...the men of Reserve Police Battalion 101, like

most of the German society, was immersed in a deluge of racist and anti-Semitic

propaganda" (Browning 184). Unless placed in the Battalion men's situation, one can not

fathom how a population of people can so evilly turn against another.

People in every culture are susceptible to the ideas and beliefs brought upon them

by propaganda. Whenever an idea is accepted as the 'norm', people will find a way to

justify it and follow...