Dehumanization

Jeremy Pozner
First Year Seminar
Professor Qualls

Paper Prospectus

I intend to write about the use of propaganda to influence both the German citizens’ and the Nazi soldiers’ views of the Jews as Üntermenschen. The Nazis used propaganda campaigns in order to glorify the blue- eyed, blonde- haired Aryan and to dehumanize the Jews. These propaganda campaigns included movies, posters, and even comics for children that blamed the Jews for all of society’s ills. This propaganda influenced the Germans’ view of Jews as less than human and created a psychological gap between the two parties. When added to the propaganda that boosted the Aryan soldiers of the German army as Übermenschen, the effects were magnified. This effect, known as dehumanization, made it easier for the German soldiers to commit horrible atrocities against the Jews in concentration camps such as Auschwitz because they viewed the Jews as inferior life forms.

I am going to try to answer the question “How did the propaganda influence the thinking of Nazi soldiers and their ability to exterminate Jews?” as well as “How did the propaganda influence the German civilians and could it have helped them turn a blind eye to the suffering of the Jews?”

This topic has been covered quite a bit, however I am also going to try and cover the angle of the civilians as well as the soldiers.

Bibliography
-Zimbardo, Phillip. “The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo.” The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo. http://www.lucifereffect.com/dehumanization.htm (accessed October 1, 2012).
This page is based on the book The Lucifer Effect by Phillip Zimbardo. It talks about the Nazi propaganda that dehumanized the Jews and influenced the German citizenry to think of the Jews as bad.
-” Dehumanization of the Jews.” Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. http://www.jfedpgh.org/page.aspx?id=148357 (accessed October 1, 2012).
This page talks about how the Germans used various forms of propaganda to portray the Jews as subhuman.

– Smith, David Livingstone. Less than human: why we demean, enslave, and exterminate others. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2011.
This book talks about how dehumanization of a people is a crucial aspect that leads to genocide. It not only talks about dehumanization of the Jews by the Nazis but also about other instances in history such as the Rwandan genocide.

2 thoughts on “Dehumanization

  1. I think this is pretty clear, all things considered, but it’s too short for me to picture it in essay form. I get your idea and all, but I don’t know HOW you’re going to answer the questions you said you would. Explain how your sources will help as well.

  2. I think this is a solid foundation for your paper, but I think it would be beneficial to incorporate the ideas we discussed in our peer review. Right now, your focus is on the propaganda itself as a means of swaying public opinion. Your original idea had more to do with uniting people against a common enemy and how the elitism that comes from members of a utopian society can be dangerous. I would draw from Plato and More more than you are now and focus more on the ideas you presented to us earlier to set your paper apart from others.

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