Milgram And The Holocaust Experiments

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Following the atrocities of World War II, the world was in awe from the reality of the Holocaust. Across the globe, people wondered how human beings could perform such acts and live with themselves. They assumed that the Nazis were psychotic and crazed; however, during the trial of Adolf Eichmann, a major organizer of the Holocaust, the world was exposed to what appeared to be a normal man (Velasquez). The fact that a normal person could be pushed to such an extreme state spurred even more questions, but what was more puzzling was how an entire nation could be brainwashed into persecuting and murdering millions of people. Following the surrender of Nazi Germany, there was a series of trials held for the operators of concentration camps and …show more content…

All of the participants continued to at least 300 volts (McLeod). From the results, Milgram concluded that ordinary people are likely to follow the orders of an authority figure, even to the extent of killing an innocent human being (Velasquez). Milgram was intrigued by the results and wanted to further understand what caused the subjects to obey the “experimenter's” orders. He crafted up numerous ways to change the experiment including changing the location to a less prestigious place, swapping out the “experimenter” for someone dressed in ordinary clothes, removing the “experimenter” all together, and making the “student” be in the same room as the subject (McLeod). All of these changes dramatically reduced the obedience levels of the participants. From his final experiments, Milgram found that the more disconnected from the situation the subject felt, the further they would progress in the voltage levels …show more content…

He asked a list of questions to help understand why the subject did what he did. Participants responded generally in one of three ways. One way that they explained their actions was by blaming the “experimenter” or the “student.” Either way they justified their actions by shifting the blame. Another way that participants responded to the experiment was by blaming themselves. They were harsh on themselves and felt badly about what they had done. The last response was given by those who rebelled against the “experimenter.” They claimed that there were obvious ethical issues at play and that they were not going to harm another for the needs of an experiment

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