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

This preview shows page 1 - 3 out of 11 pages.

Allen 1 Haley Allen Dr. Courtney Andree Writing 1, Research Paper Draft 4 November 2015 Social Psychology: Contributions to the Holocaust One 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 then I 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
Image of page 1
Allen 2 circulating 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 began when 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.
Image of page 2

Want to read all 11 pages?

Image of page 3

Want to read all 11 pages?

You've reached the end of your free preview.

Want to read all 11 pages?

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern