Research Analysis

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Research Analysis: Pleasure in Mass Executions During World War II, there were thousands of young men who lined up to serve their great country of Germany, unaware of Adolf Hitler’s plans for mass execution. In 1968, U.S. soldiers defended their action of opening fire to hundreds of unarmed civilians, by stating that they were given an order. Psychologists have been studying humans’ natural willingness to administer outrageous treatments. Stanley Milgram and Philip G. Zimbardo both held experiments to study the effects of obedience to authority. Herbert C. Kelman and V. Lee Hamilton write about the My Lai Massacre, and the striking similarities to Milgram and Zimbardo’s experiments. Zimbardo, Milgram, and Kelman/Hamilton all provide pieces of evidence that lead to the understanding that authority figures sometimes get pleasure from taking advantage of their power once they sense they have control during mass executions. Milgram, Kelman/Hamilton, and Zimbardo explain their shared belief that anyone has the capability to become sadistically evil to use their power to dominate others of lower rankings. Milgram begins by stating, “for many people, obedience is a deeply ingrained behavior tendency, indeed a potent impulse overriding training in ethics, sympathy, and moral conduct” (WRAC 78). By this, Milgram implies that disobedience does not come naturally to humans because we yearn to satisfy the social balance. Due to mankind’s’ desire to obey, when one is commanded to kill the “enemy,” the troops involved in the My Lai Massacre did so with no questions asked. Erich Fromm supports Milgram’s belief of human’s need for obedience by claiming that, “My obedience makes me part of the power I worship, and hence I feel strong” (WRAC 127). Fromm is establishing that authorities need the affirmation to their actions, therefore creating a sense of self worth and

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