Ordinary Men Analysis

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Christopher R. Browning is a well-known author of the book Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland which is a collection of his research about the Order Police in Germany and how they were brainwashed into taking part in the mass murders of the Jewish population under Hitler’s ruling. The Holocaust could not have happened before the 20th century due to the downfall of the German government during that time, the industrial revolution increasing supplies and means of transportation, and the decision that all German’s had to make: obedience and country vs morality.
The Holocaust was an atrocious event that means different things to different people. Further research will show any average person that there was
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At the end of the book Browning brings to light two psychological experiments that are important in understanding a bit of why ordinary men would commit these actions. The first experiment that Browning discusses is Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford prison experiment. Zimbardo wanted to test whether the brutality of prison guards occurred due to environment of the prison or the personalities of the guards. In order to test this he set up a mock prison in the bottom of Stanford University giving half of the volunteers the role of a prisoner and the other half the role of a guard. The Simply Psychology website on this experiment stated that Zimbardo’s volunteer guards, most of which admitted to enjoying the role of authority, harassed, beat, and taunted the prisoners. The conclusion of the experiment is that people will conform to their social roles without even acknowledging the conformity or second guessing the morality of the role. One can compare Zimbardo’s experiment to the ordinary men in the Battalion 101 because the men were given power from the authority. Browning states that “Even if the consequences of disobedience would not have been so dire, the men who complied could not have known that at the time. They sincerely thought that they had had no choice when faced with orders to kill. “(170) Not only did the authorities place power into the hands of these men, but the police knew that if they had refused to do what the leaders had said that they would be coined traitors and sent right to a camp. The second experiment that Browning discusses in relation to the Battalion 101 is Stanley Milgrim’s shock study. Milgrim wanted to see if volunteers could watch another human being get shocked by their own doing. He placed an
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