Group Conformity In The Holocaust

Better Essays
Conformity and group mentality are major aspects of social influence that have governed some of the most notorious events and experiments in history. The Holocaust is a shocking example of group mentality, or groupthink, which states that all members of the group must support the group’s decisions strongly, and all evidence leading to the contrary must be ignored. Social norms are an example of conformity on a smaller scale, such as tipping your waiter or waitress, saying please and thank you, and getting a job and becoming a productive member of society. Our society hinges on an individual’s inherent need to belong and focuses on manipulating that need in order to create compliant members of society by using the ‘majority rules’ concept. This…show more content…
The groupthink, or group mentality theory occurs when the majority of the group follows a certain ideal or idea, and causes individuals who might have thought otherwise to support the majority’s conclusions. This has never been more prevalent then in one of the most horrifying events in history: the Holocaust. The events of the Holocaust baffled the world – no one could understand how Hitler convinced thousands of German soldiers to murder millions of innocent Jewish citizens. The world could not understand how a sophisticated and refined European country could follow a mindset that systematically eradicated generations of people for the sole reason that they practiced a certain religion (Tindale, Munler, Wasserman & Smith, 2002). The largest contributor to the events that took place during the Holocaust are the effects of conformity. Many Germans, during WWII had started to take on the ideology of Hitler – that Jewish citizens in Germany were the cause of their poverty and misfortune. Of course, many knew that this was merely a form of scapegoating, and although they disagreed with the majority of Germany’s citizens, many would not speak up for fear of isolation (Boone,…show more content…
Throughout this essay, the ideologies that surrounded the events of the Holocaust, the slavery of black people, the Stanford Prison Experiment, and the Asch Conformity Experiment have been examined with a clear understanding that they all have one thing in common – the choice to conform to the beliefs of the majority have proven detrimental or even fatal to a group of people within the society. It is extremely difficult to question authority figures, especially when many individuals have been brought up to believe that authority figures are the cornerstones of society. It is also extremely difficult to reject the beliefs of the majority of a society or population out of fear of causing unrest or becoming alienated from society itself. The whole concept of believing what others believe simply because they are the majority can be exceptionally dangerous for a society, however, it would also be quite difficult to uproot an entire psychological and political norm throughout the
Get Access