Essay about Adolf Hitler And The Nazi Regime

Essay about Adolf Hitler And The Nazi Regime

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During World War II in Europe, many non-Jewish individuals became anti-Semitic and obedient to Adolf Hitler’s tyrannical rule. Their public and private perspectives seemed to merge as many citizens under the rule of the Third Reich displayed extreme social conformity and obedience, following religiously the cult-like beliefs of the Nazi regime (Koonz, 2003). During his rise to power, Adolf Hitler employed a number of very deliberate techniques of social influence designed to sway public opinion, beliefs, and behaviors. He relied heavily on propaganda that continually persuaded the German people across Eastern Europe about the superiority of the Aryan race, the evils of the Jewish and non-Aryan people, and a need to purify and protect their homeland and race from those that would seek to destroy their way of life (Koonz, 2003). Alarmingly, very few dissenters chose to break away from these heavily enforced social norms, and the overwhelming pressure to conform and obey that these citizens experienced had devastating consequences, resulting in the deaths of over six million people (Shirer, 1960).

There are two powerful motives that lie beneath our drive to conform: normative social influence (the desire to be liked), and informational social influence (the desire to be right) (Baron et al., 2009). The desire of human beings to be liked and accepted is a powerful force that greatly influences our behaviors. Furthermore, informational social influence is based upon our propensity to rely on others as sources of information with regards to many features of the social world (Baron et al., 2009). From the beginning of his reign, Hitler utilized these two factors extensively through the use of propaganda. It is obvious that Hitler...


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...llowed up with stricter and harsher demands. For example, Jewish and other “undesirables” were not immediately arrested and sent to the gas chambers. Hitler issued a series of ever-increasing decrees violating the personal freedoms of the Jews, starting with relatively minor requests of his soldiers, such as ensuring that Jews were displaying visible identification (the yellow star of David), and then gradually increasing his demands with more inhumane requests, culminating in his actual desired result- the extermination of millions of “undesirables” (Frank, 1995). Furthermore, the rigid control, arrests, and mass murder of millions happened extremely quickly, allowing the participants little time for reflection, another factor that has been shown to strongly influence the extent to which we will comply with destructive demands for obedience (Baron et al., 2009).

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