Nice Nazis? Analytical Essay by Jay Writtings LLC

Nice Nazis?
An analysis of the forces that drove the Nazis to commit horrendous acts, and the rarely-discussed psychological damage they suffered.
# 120066 | 1,580 words | 0 sources | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on Jun 03, 2010 in History (European - World Wars) , Holocaust Studies (General)


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Description:

This paper breaches the subject of the Schutzstaffels (SS), Hitler's army that carried out the Holocaust. With excerpts and examples, the paper strives to illustrate that most moral, decent people are capable of criminal acts, under a certain set of circumstances. The paper notes that when many of the top SS officers were prosecuted and asked why they carried out such brutal actions, they simply replied that they were under orders - the same answer that many soldiers around the world, including those of the United States, have given over the years to justify their actions. After discussing the psychological damage sustained by many of the SS, the paper concludes that the SS did not fancy a war but rather were dragged along by the decisions of their government.

From the Paper:

"After seeing the aftermath of the Holocaust, the SS officers began doubting Hitler's reasoning. The young boys who joined the SS did not know what tasks they would have to perform, only that what they were doing was supposedly helping their country. Explaining the behaviors of a frosh SS officers, a SS explained, "[at first] they often refused to perform the task given, and would ask questions" ("Secrets of Nazis" , par 3). The SS had a conscience, but were led to believe that their actions were helping their country, family, and peers. However, while Germany was the supreme military power at this time, they were being defeated by the Allied powers. The young SS were perplexed at the reasonings of their government considering they were being defeated; "I was loyal to Hitler and Nazi's, but I could not understand why so many people had to die a brutal death." ("Secrets of Nazis" , par.2). They were trained to block out all feelings of guilt, sorrow and curiosity. In the world of the SS there was no room for questions to be asked, only for orders to be followed, yet still uncertainty and curiosity tantalized them, no matter how hard they tried to be the good Nazis they were trained to be. Some of the SS tried in many ways to help the prisoners even though their forces were no match for the mighty German force along with the German population, who at the time fully supported their government while clueless about what was truly taking place in their country; "They tried to free the Jews because they could no longer kill, they were willing to die even if it was against their governments' wants and was seen as a betrayal to their country" ("Secrets of Nazis" , par.7). They realized that what they were doing was inhumane and wrong. They stopped viewing Hitler as a masterminded militarist, and started to view him as the paranoid and cold hearted human being that he was. No matter how hard they tried to rationalize the reasonings of their government, they recognized that their actions were not helping their country but rather hurting millions of human beings."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Cardwell, Mike. "Obedience to authority: the legacy of Milgram's research."
  • Psychology Review 7.4 (April 2001): p14(5).
  • "Holocaust" . <http://www.auschwitz.wwii.holocaust/events/nazi/ss.html>. (20 April 2007).
  • "Kurt Gerstein". <http://www.auschwitz.dk/Gerstein.htm>. (26 April 2007).
  • "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder". <http://www.ncptsd.va.gov/facts/general/fs_overview.html>. (22 April 2007).

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