Research paper, round 2 - Allen 1 Haley Allen Dr Courtney Andree Writing 1 Research Paper Draft 4 November 2015 Social Psychology Contributions to the

Research paper, round 2 - Allen 1 Haley Allen Dr Courtney...

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Allen 1Haley AllenDr. Courtney AndreeWriting 1, Research Paper Draft4 November 2015Social Psychology: Contributions to the HolocaustOne evil man successfully manipulated thousands of ordinary men to commit murder. Millions of bystanders stood by watching these horrendous acts taking place with minimal protest. A whole nation remained virtually silent in the face of genocide. This manifested in the killing of over 11 million men, women, and children. This magnitude of death is not something that we can simply turn our heads away from or push into the shadows of history. The cause of the Holocaust is extremely complex and may never be fully comprehensible, but recent discoveries in psychology convey much about how and why this may have occurred. The psychological processes that influenced the behaviors of both perpetrators and bystanders were extremely powerful and indicate that no single nation is immune to genocide. I will begin by looking at the historical events in Europe that led to such a hostile environment for Jews and thenI will draw upon a variety of experiments in order to examine the role psychology has played in obedience, conformity, and bystander intervention, specifically as it relates to the Holocaust.Europe was especially vulnerable to anti-Semitic ideology following the end of WW1 for a variety of reasons. The decline of the economy immediately following the war directly led to an increase in contempt for Jews. Competition over scarce resources in the midst of a depression created widespread panic and paranoia that influenced desperate people to believe outrageous assertions. In 1903, a fabricated book called The Protocols of the Elders of Zion began
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Allen 2circulating throughout Europe and began to be taught in classrooms as factual information. This book depicted Jews as power- hungry villains with plans to undermine authority and take over the world ("Protocols of the Elders of Zion"). This assertion clearly had no evidence to support it, yet it was widely accepted as truth due to existing anti-Semitism and consequently amplified the fear and hatred of Jews. These unwarranted beliefs seeped in to all aspects of European life including “teachings of various established churches,” the education system, print media, and even public calls for the persecution of Jews (Kokkonen). Hitler was not the first man to advocate for the extermination of Jews, he had a chain of predecessors that were supporting his cause long before he was even born. Anti-Semitism didn’t begin with the Nazi regime in Germany; its roots can be traced back for centuries to the death of Jesus Christ. The hatred beganwhen Christians placed sole blame on the Jews for the death of their savior, claiming that “they are all literally the murderers of God,” leaving them as an easy target for scapegoating, (Hayes 8). This culture of alienation and contempt was a breeding ground for merciless violence.
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