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This paper is devoted to the analysis of the Holocaust in general and the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt in particular. It is going to review the advised literature. Besides, it will answer the questions so as to reflect on the read materials.
In November 1945, the Nurnberg trial started. There were 21 accused in the courtroom, and the court was deemed to resolve their fate (Marrus 12). The accused were the representative of the so-called elite of the Nazi society and administration. Each defendant was accused of one or more of the following points: 1) collusion so as to commit crimes which are mentioned in the other points, 2) crimes against the world, 3) wartime crimes, and 4) crimes against the humanity (Marrus 18). Specific accusations included murders of more than six million Jewish people, aggressive war, savage cruelty of concentration camps, and use of slave labor (Marrus 47). The judges represented the states which were the main winners in the war: Great Britain, France, the USSR, and the USA (Marrus 52). Each of the accused claimed to be innocent. Many of them stated that they had been following orders and instructions. Besides, they questioned the authority of the court (Marrus 64). The judgment was announced on October the 1st 1946. Eighteen accused were found guilty, three of them were found innocent. 11 accused were sentenced to death, the rest were sentenced to more than ten years of imprisonment (Marrus 70).
From my viewpoint, it is not fair to blame the Holocaust on the German people. It is a universal truth that not all Germans were Nazis, whereas not all Nazis were Germans. That is why the world cannot find Germany guilty for the Holocaust. Therefore, this is a group of people with Hitler at the head of it who are expected to be charged with this crime. Therefore, I would not accept the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt. This declaration limits the guilt for the threats of the war to common Germans (Stuttgart Declaration par. 4). What is more, they treated it as a betrayal. Ordinary people did not participate in the Holocaust, and they did not want the war. They wanted to live in peace. Thus, treating them as guilty for the Holocaust is the same as treating them as guilty for the fact that they are Germans. However, the poem by a German priest Martin Niemoller is addressed to, it is possible to accuse the whole world of its inactivity and indifference. “Then they came for me” (Niemoller par. 4) is a famous quote from this poem which was pronounced to accuse German intellectuals of their inactivity and nonresistance to Nazis. It is assumed that the phrase was first said in 1946. However, its printed version appeared only in 1955. In reality, there exist many ways not to notice what the person is unwilling to notice. Besides, there are many ways to forget what the person does not want to remember or is tired of knowing. It happens when an unsightly reality does not involve nor touch this person. However, as history proves, no one is likely to stay aside in wars and terror.
Therefore, everyone of every sort must not hide behind others and wait for them to be killed but take an active part so as to prevent any dramatic actions. Indifference is the worst thing that might occur. If it is not personal business, it does not mean that the help is unnecessary. One day it could become the personal business, but no one is likely to come and give a helping hand since there is nobody left or they assert that it is not their personal business. It is impossible to defeat the great evil alone. It is crucial to uniting the forces. It is believed that there are more good people in the world than bad people, but it is claimed that bad people tend to be organized better. I think my opinion reflects my ethical beliefs since I am unwilling to divide the world into cultures and religions. What is essential is conscious.
Taken into account the above-said I would like to assert that any totalitarian regime is evil in its essence. People are born to be free and happy, and a totalitarian regime denies them both. I absolutely and ultimately agree that it is characterized by dehumanization.
“Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil” is a book which was written by Hanna Arendt. She witnessed the court which considered the case of Adolph Eichmann, who was responsible for the final resolution of the Jewish issue in Nazi Germany. The court took place in Jerusalem in 1961. Based on what she saw and heard in the court, Arendt analyzed the events so as to give them an objective evaluation in the book. Once released, the book was criticized more than any other work on moral philosophy written in the 20th century. Her careful attempts to investigate the forms of responsibilities and separate the responsibility from the intention was not understood in a correct way and entrained many people’s indignation and anger.
In the book, Arendt claims that Eichmann wanted only to climb the career ladder. He did not possess any features of anti-Semitism. The subtitle of the book managed to take the reader to the “banality of evil” (Arendt 142), and this phrase serves as the final words in the last chapter. Besides, she quotes what Eichmann said in the court so as to prove that he was not passionate about what he did. Therefore, Arendt treats Eichmann as non-guilty since he just did his job: “He did his duty…; he not only obeyed orders, he also obeyed the law” (Arendt 135). When it comes to my opinion, I would not judge the author’s viewpoint. However, from my perspective, Eichmann is guilty because he obeyed the law which was aimed to legalize murders. I feel strongly that murders are not acceptable in any society. I believe that killing innocent people because they are different is the most horrible thing that humanity could think of.
Finally, as for the question concerning whether to forgive someone who commits a war crime or a crime against humanity or not, the answer is a willing no. This is due to the fact that everyone must be responsible for their actions regardless of orders and instructions. If the choice is between killing an unarmed pacific person or dying of failure to execute an order, the person should prefer the second.
To sum it up, this paper has been devoted to the analysis of the Holocaust in general and the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt in particular. It has reviewed the advised literature. Besides, it has answered the questions to provide a reflection on the read materials.
Arendt, Hanna. Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of the Evil. Viking Press, 1963.
Marrus, Michael R. The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial, 1945-46: A Documentary History. Bedford, 2015.
Niemoller, Martin. “First They Came for the Socialists…” Ushmm, Web.
“Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt.” History.ucsb, Web.