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The easy choice...mass murder?

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posted on May, 26 2009 @ 01:33 PM
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I just finished reading the book, "Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland" by Christopher R. Browning. The book is a historical study of the men who were responsible for rounding up the Jewish people from the ghettos and either executing them on-site, nearby, or forcing them onto the death trains to Treblinka.

I don't want this to turn into a holocaust thread, but more of a look at the psychology of the people who committed this act simply because they were told to.

The book explains that many of the members of the police battalions were middle aged or older, many were not Nazi party members before the war began and most were less than dedicated to the cause. Basically, they were forced into service because most able bodied men were on the front lines fighting the war. It is these people, normal business owners, shop keepers, etc. who facilitated the holocaust. This is a link to an article which provides more detail on this police battalion:

www.holocaustresearchproject.org...

The point of this thread is to discuss how easily these less than committed men became mass murders. Many used the excuse of not wanting to look cowardly. Amazingly, before the first ghetto clearing they were offered the opportunity to sit it out but only a few took advantage.

It is amazing that the reason most committed these acts was to avoid looking cowardly when today history views their mass murder as one of the most cruel and cowardly acts ever.

So a few questions - Why did they follow the orders so willingly? Can this happen again? How do you think you would handle the situation they were in? How worried should we be that this phenomenon could rear its ugly head again?

Here is how the author concluded his book -

"The collective behavior of Police Battalion 101 has deeply disturbing implications. There are many societies afflicted by traditions of racism and caught in the siege mentality of war or threat of war. Everywhere society conditions people to respect and defer to authority, and indeed could scarcely function otherwise. Everywhere people seek career advancement. In every modern society, the complexity of life and the resulting bureaucratization and specialization attenuate the sense of personal responsibility of those implementing official policy. Within virtually every social collective, the peer group exerts tremendous pressures on behavior and sets moral norms. If the men of Reserve Police Battalion 101 could become killers under such circumstances, what group of men cannot?"




posted on May, 26 2009 @ 01:42 PM
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Great thread! S&F!

As far as they're overall behaviour and the reasons behind it, just look at the environment these people were a part of.

After WW1, Germany was in shambles, the economy was shot. But somebody a "messiah" came along and showed them a new way forward.

Hitler was there on his soapbox telling the people what they wanted to hear. He spun words like nobody else could. Sound familiar?

Everybody has the potential to do anything if enough emphasis is placed, or importance. They were being told day in and day our the the Jews were the reason for their misfortunes and the only way forward was to remove them.

So the people removed them. It was like a counter revolution. A false flag attack if you will. Instead of rebelling against the government, the government convinced the people to turn on themselves.

I believe as well that mutany and dis-loyalty were something that was punishable by death in most cases. The Nazi's didnt' really screw around and weren't afraid to kill at the drop of a dime.

But then again, murdering people was an everyday occurence. I am reminded of a study done a few years back in the states.

A class of children was split into two groups, each with it's own features. Brown eyes, with brown hair and blue eyes, blonde hair on the other end.

They have them each a bracelet, once side blue, the other brown. The kids with the blue bracelets were told they were better and were treated better than the others. They were able to pick on them without getting in trouble and commit all kinds of atrocious things.

The other kids were subject to such behaviour and could not say a word, they were chastised heavily and received lower marks for the same answers.

After 2 weeks they reversed the bracelets. The same thing took place all over again.

It goes to show that any person in power hlds great influence over others. There are always those who will follow and those who will lead. The problem is choosing the correct leader.

It could happen today. Our present society is very ready to simply comply and allow any measure to be taken in order to be "safe". That blind obedience is very scary, and will probably lead to the downfall of the current system.

I think the world and the "awake" folks would probably be treated like the Jews in WWII if they attempted to interfere. Remember: "If your not with us, You're Against Us!".

~Keeper



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 01:58 PM
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Originally posted by tothetenthpower

Hitler was there on his soapbox telling the people what they wanted to hear. He spun words like nobody else could. Sound familiar?

Everybody has the potential to do anything if enough emphasis is placed, or importance. They were being told day in and day our the the Jews were the reason for their misfortunes and the only way forward was to remove them.

So the people removed them. It was like a counter revolution. A false flag attack if you will. Instead of rebelling against the government, the government convinced the people to turn on themselves.


I agree, these people were told over and over than the Jews were the enemy. It is just so sad that people can be so easily tricked into doing such horrible things.



I believe as well that mutany and dis-loyalty were something that was punishable by death in most cases. The Nazi's didnt' really screw around and weren't afraid to kill at the drop of a dime.


One of the interesting things in the book was that this specific battalion was immune to that problem. The men in charge were very understanding if you didn't want to do it. The peer pressure just appeared too great, the fear of being called a coward. Just sad.

Another interesting point that the author pointed out is that during most of the "Jewish actions" a majority of the police were completely drunk. In fact commanders gave additional alcohol rations on those days.




A class of children was split into two groups, each with it's own features. Brown eyes, with brown hair and blue eyes, blonde hair on the other end.

They have them each a bracelet, once side blue, the other brown. The kids with the blue bracelets were told they were better and were treated better than the others. They were able to pick on them without getting in trouble and commit all kinds of atrocious things.

The other kids were subject to such behaviour and could not say a word, they were chastised heavily and received lower marks for the same answers.

After 2 weeks they reversed the bracelets. The same thing took place all over again.


The book also mentioned an experiment where the subject is placed in a room and instructed to turn a knob which sends an electric shock to a subject in another room. Of course, the electric shock was not real and the other subject was acting for the experiment. They found that a majority of the people, when told to increase the shock length and strength, continued to do so even after the screams from the other room tellingly stopped.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 02:01 PM
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Interesting subject Aces High. S&F.

My first thought (when i was reading) is that they were forced, as in a gun to your head, do this or.......

but I was kinda shocked when I got to this part: "Amazingly, before the first ghetto clearing they were offered the opportunity to sit it out but only a few took advantage."

Is it (infact) mostly because they didn't want to look/act cowardly?
Wow.
I'm curious as to the percentage that were exectued, and the percentage that willingly participating in the atrocities.

Also, what exactly was rewarded, gained (except freedom of execution) for the participants of the mass murdering (of their own people)?


Can it happen again? I would answer yes. Only because there's just as much bad as good in human nature. Evidently history had proven it.


How would I handle the situation? Wow. Tough question. If it meant the survival of my whole family, maybe yes. Maybe kill myself in the end from the shame. Atleast "I" gained the survival of my whole family, in the end.
But that's about it.
I couldn't live with myself knowing I commited and conspired to mass murder.

But I don't have kids, (big family) and I'm a good natured person.
I guess I would do my best to join a resistance and take my chances fighting.

How worried should we be that this phenomenon could rear its ugly head again? I would answer we should be significantly worried.
Hey, it's happend before, cetainly able to happen again.
Evil forces are still present in the world. Even scarier, is that mass murder has continued, and the machines of war with all the propaganda tools etc, are quite capable of the reoccurance. There's places in the globe that genocide are present today. Such as Africa.
Similar scenario, just more racist or religious based.
I think on a global scenario (say NWO theories) it would look much more as 'authority' over the people. People will choose between authority or death, in significant difference, or indifference, imo. Civil war (in a country) may the the most vulnerable point for the orchestrators of mass murdering/genocide to step in, and repeat such atrocities.
Again, propaganda tools at it's finest.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 02:13 PM
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Originally posted by Ben Niceknowinya
Is it (infact) mostly because they didn't want to look/act cowardly?
Wow.
I'm curious as to the percentage that were exectued, and the percentage that willingly participating in the atrocities.

Also, what exactly was rewarded, gained (except freedom of execution) for the participants of the mass murdering (of their own people)?


The ones who opted out of the killings were sent on other duties during the murdering. Mainly, they stood patrol at the perimeter of the city. In fact, one of the commanders always got "sick" the night before one of the jewish actions was about to be taken. He was transferred to another battalion that was not participating in the mass murder with no reprimand.



How would I handle the situation? Wow. Tough question. If it meant the survival of my whole family, maybe yes. Maybe kill myself in the end from the shame. Atleast "I" gained the survival of my whole family, in the end.
But that's about it.
I couldn't live with myself knowing I commited and conspired to mass murder.

But I don't have kids, (big family) and I'm a good natured person.
I guess I would do my best to join a resistance and take my chances fighting.


I know this is one that I struggle with as well. I would hope that I would see clearly and not fall for the propoganda. Hopefully, I would try to do the right thing even if others considered it wrong and cowardly at the time.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 02:14 PM
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Racial hatred allows people to separate themselves from feelings of guilt. At that time, jews, blacks, etc were considered sub-human by pro-aryan propogandists. Believing that groups or individuals are sub-human effectively dehumanizes them from the entire experience. Its sad.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 02:23 PM
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Originally posted by Choronzon
Racial hatred allows people to separate themselves from feelings of guilt. At that time, jews, blacks, etc were considered sub-human by pro-aryan propogandists. Believing that groups or individuals are sub-human effectively dehumanizes them from the entire experience. Its sad.


True, but what makes these people stand out is that the were not a part of the Nazi party up until, they were basically forced into the party during the war. That means 7+ years of propaganda and they were not buying it. Basically, they were the opposition party members before the war.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 02:40 PM
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To my mind the real issue is that we often evaluate these situations by loss of life. Fact is, the exact same behavior is occurring right now. Take any defender of the treatment of suspected terrorists and ask for their reasoning. Answers are common and boil down to a basic reflection... "They aren't one of us." The defense of the perpetrators is simply a mirror. Why support the actions of those who organized the behavior... "They are one of us."

Has this lead to the deaths of millions? No. Is it any different? No.

Less extreme isn't better. And to be fair I apply this attitude to anyone who defends a person based on their belonging to a particular group, disregarding behavior. And to any range of behaviors that minimizes the importance of others based on their lack of belonging to a particular group.

How far is the line for most people between cheering on "their" team and abject violence against the "other" team? Not far. Stories can be read in local and national newspapers on a near daily basis.

When it comes to the Nazis, the real difference was simply "industrial efficiency", not a true difference in mentality. They were no more or less human than any of us. It was simply the common human logic of applying technological advances to the control and domination of others that lead to the death camps and the common human weakness of needing to belong.

For myself, I'd choose not to participate because I actually value myself and my life more than by how I fit into a group.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 02:46 PM
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I think everyone is missing the MOST important question that this topic covers.

WHO in their right mind would throw away all of those potential soldiers?

Think of all those able bodied men that could have been used as conscripts to fight. My god the IGNORANCE of a military strategist to waste all of that man power! Mass produce Kar 98's and dish them out. Hell even put the Jewish soldiers into all Jewish units. BUT encourage them to fight for Germany.

Talk about a force to be reckoned with. Could have been the turning point in the battle against Russia. Could have been the turning point of Africa or the Normandy landing. Also all of the other races that Hitler and the Germans killed rather than encourage (force) to join their military. Even the Russians were smart enough to have female soldiers.

Lyudmila Pavlichenko is a female Russian sniper credited with over 300 kills. That is an insane number of kills from one woman with a rifle. It triples any amount of confirmed kills from any U.S. sniper in history.

SO that shows that many of the female Jews could be used in a combat role and not just the males. What a HUGE number of soldiers.

Hitler was a complete moron. Just imagine how much more powerful they could have been with all of those other troops at their command. Ugh I groan with the amount of sheer stupidity the Germans had. And to think of the number of countries they steam rolled WITHOUT this additional troop advantage.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 02:53 PM
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reply to post by TurkeyBurgers
 


Great point. Even if the men in the police battalions were older, they would have provided much needed support to the troops that were stretched thin.

The book describes that Hitler gave the "Final Solution" order with no plans on how to execute it. His commanders were forced to scramble and fight with the commanders in charge of the frontlines for manpower and resources. This is the very reason they were stuck with the older or impaired men who were not party loyalists.

I find it simply amazing that the people who were not drinking the kool-aid were the very ones being used to carry out the mass murders without the threat of death to themselves.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 03:18 PM
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This is simply social conditioning. A man will do that fearing repercussions. It works with most people. First there was terror in Germany for Germans, then they were manipulated into causing atrocities to all others. When everybody becomes your enemy, you even begin to think you're doing the right thing.

Divide and Rule, as simple as that.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 04:47 PM
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reply to post by TurkeyBurgers
 


I wouldn't consider it a good idea to stick a gun in everyone's hand that you are fighting. Also the Germans agenda was not to merge forces but rather the opposite.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 06:08 PM
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reply to post by Clear
 


No, but the reserve police battalions would have served as a much needed back-up to the front-line troops.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 06:15 PM
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The reasoning behind why the soldiers did those things can be found behind any experiment that Milgram did or the Stanford University prison experiment in 1971.

They either follow the leader mentality or follow the group.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 06:34 PM
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I think there are a few factors in turning a man into a monster
Social modeling, dehumanization, deindividuation

Deindividuation is when they take a way your personal identity. They give you a uniform and make you look the same as the rest. You are no longer a person, you are part of the military. deindividuation also makes it easy to lose your morals because your personal identity doesn't matter anymore

dehumanization is when you change your view of the enemy to make them easier to kill. You are taught that they are not equal to you and their lives don't matter.This just makes it easier for you to slaughter without remorse.

Social Modeling is basically the whole "everyone else is doing it " pattern of behavior. It just assures the rest that what they are doing is ok.

So here is the question asked by psychologist Philip Zimbardo: If Hitler asked you to kill, would you do it?

Think about how much outside factors matter more than what mommy and daddy hammered into you your whole childhood.

Because we ourselves are not so far from the killers and mass murderers.
There is no line in the sand between us and them



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 06:38 PM
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see the Stanford Prison Experiment and the results:

video.google.com...



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 06:41 PM
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Originally posted by sixtysix

Think about how much outside factors matter more than what mommy and daddy hammered into you your whole childhood.

Because we ourselves are not so far from the killers and mass murderers.
There is no line in the sand between us and them



I agree. That is really the point of this thread. The book basically proves the point that you can take well educated individuals who have no pre-existing predjudices or political alliances and use them as killing machines. It is almost a genetic flaw in the human DNA.

I suspect many who think they would do the right thing would fall in lock and step with the crowd.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 06:48 PM
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In their state of intoxicated excitement the Trawniki-SS initially began shooting the Jews at the entry to the grave. As a result, the Jews killed first blocked the slope. Thus some Jews went into the grave and pulled the corpses away from the entry.

The Trawniki-SS often with bottle in hand, as well as Gnade and the SS officer became increasingly drunk, the Trawniki- SS climbed into the grave to shoot the Jewish victims.


Intoxicated excitement? I would think they were probably getting trashed (and allowed to do so by their superior officers) because they were NOT enjoying it, getting drunk helped them get through it.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 06:56 PM
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reply to post by Sonya610
 


Exactly. Many of the commanders did not attend the actual executions and were often found drunk and far away from the murders. The men doing the execution would drink constantly throughout the slaughter.

The book made reference to the fact that the alcohol rations were doubled before a Jewish action as it was called.

Many of the men would loiter during the clearing phase, once clearing a house they would basically hide out to avoid being recruited as a shooter during the execution phase. When hiding out they would drink and play cards.

After the unit had completed several of the ghetto clearings the commanders had a good idea which police officers were comfortable with the killings and called on them to be the executioners repeatedly.



posted on May, 26 2009 @ 07:17 PM
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Originally posted by Ace High
After the unit had completed several of the ghetto clearings the commanders had a good idea which police officers were comfortable with the killings and called on them to be the executioners repeatedly.


Yeah I always assumed they chose the ones who could handle it (even like it).

I recall seeing a documentary that talked about how they came up with mass extermination methods. They honestly just made it up as they went along.

One experiment involved truck exhaust and somehow ended up exploding the bodies, and they had to figure out how to get the body parts out of high trees.

Truly amazing how it all started. At first they planned to export all the Jews to some island, then they rethought it and eventually decided to exterminate them.

Yes, very brutal, but everyone loves to harp on the Nazi atrocities, similar things have gone on in other parts of the world, take Rhawanda for instance, those "regular citizens" did not shy away from butchering the neighbors with machetes, they truly DID get into a frenzy over it. The Germans had to plan it a bit more carefully and choose those capable of carrying it out.



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