Eichmann Controversy Analysis

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Part of the issue is that Arendt’s understanding of Eichmann is taken to be strikingly similar to Eichmann’s own legal defense. Eichmann defended himself on the grounds that he was taking orders, which is similar to Arendt’s own argument that Eichmann was acting only in accordance with the system. Hausner said in a speech to the World Zionist Organization that Hannah Arendt is in “bizzarre defense of Eichmann” (King 208). Arendt, however, never saw herself as defending or justifying. Eichmann’s banality made him no less guilty (Arendt Eichmann). What Arendt did do was open a massive divide between two versions of a painful past: a monstrosity or a normality. Arendt’s critics wanted Eichmann to be the clearest verdict of evil that history has put on record. Arendt disputed not that he was evil, but rather the nature and consequence of such evil. Arendt casts Eichmann into a theory of evil and a narrative of history which, to many of her counterparts, is not only outrageous but perhaps terrifying. The many arguments against Arendt stem from one deeper cause of the controversy: the contention over which version of history society will believe. In one version; the trial validated the legitimacy of the state of Israel as a representation of defense and safity, and it emphasized crimes specifically against Jewish people. It ended the victim…show more content…
King writes that Arendt’s idea of the “banality of evil” is perhaps the most brilliant, original, and terrifying idea of the 20th century. It demands further attention and explanation (King 216-217). However, the core of her argument defies how the Jewish community has decided to remember Eichmann and the Holocaust. That alone will cause controversy no matter when or how clearly it is
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