Alright so... controverisal topic ahead but I got this idea from the mod forum, don't ask me how, I just did...
If you were in Germany during WW2 and you were called to serve your country, accepted and ended up as one of the guys responsible for security in one of the prison camps. You had no idea this was really going on but now you're stuck there, and you now work at this factory of death and you're partly responsible for the killing of thousands of innocent civilians... even though you're not directly killing anyone unless they resist or try to escape but you would have to constantly interact with prisoners during transports, watching things happen, perhaps moving corpses etc...
What would you do? Would you try to make a run for it knowing you'd most likely be hunted down and killed/imprisoned yourself? Would you just go along with it and try to do as little harm as possible, perhaps even try to help the prisoners by smuggling food...? Yeah it's a tough question.
I guess I'd try to get repositioned somewhere else, perhaps sent to the front where they constantly need people, and until then I'd just try to cause as little harm as possible, just trying to not think about what I was doing on a daily basis, sort of trying to distance myself from the whole thing. Don't think I'd have the cojones to start an uproar.
I'd try to get into a position where I would be helping people who had been affected by bombs instead of hurting people. I don't want anything to do with killing others, so I'd try my best to stay away from it.
Honestly, I've wondered that myself. Because I remember thinking "why would so many people have the cruelty to carry through with that?" and came to the conclusion that many probably didn't want to. I'm sure a hefty portion didn't mind or only sorta minded or whatever, but there's no way every Nazi wanted to be in that position and so I wondered the same thing. In that position, what would I do? And honestly, I haven't a clue. I like to think I would do the moral thing, that I would resist it, that I would stick vehemently to my beliefs but I can't say that positively.
I would honestly try to be moved to the front lines, or run.
I don't think I could kill thousands of innocent people at one time. I wouldn't be able to commit genocide to humans. I don't care what ethnicity they are, they are, technically, the same race as me. I couldn't do it.
If I could not get moved, I'd run and join the Allied Forces, or hide in Russia until everything blows over.
^ I figure that you'd be relatively new to your post so you don't know other people well. So as to finding out how other people are feeling, that's a conscious decision you have to make that comes with its own risks. Also since you're new, you'd probably have to ask/snoop around for many of those answers. What do you think would happen to you if you did?
Well. This is a difficult question but I will try to answer honestly.
I've always been an open-minded person, even though it took me years to (on my own, apart from the dogma of parents/teachers) achieve the openness I have today. I think I would have come to realize what was happening was wrong, and I also would've been the type to want to look into it, at least as far as I could without being suspected.
Being stationed in such a camp, I would know inside that I wanted that place smashed to pieces. But realistically, it just wouldn't be feasible (if even possible). Knowing me, I would probably run away. I have never been afraid of running away from authority and have done so in my life before. The thought of being wanted wouldn't bother me so much as the thought of, now that I'm on my own, what can I do to stop this? And I'd know there would be nothing I could do.
Would I be willing to get in contact with the free countries of the world? Could I cross borders and inform France or Britain of what was going on? Would anyone believe me? If I did such a thing, would I be imprisoned? Would I ever see the light of day again? Worse yet, would I be given back to the Nazis and killed? These are all questions I would consider very thoughtfully once in hiding.
Wait, isn't this in Serious Discussion? Or rather, shouldn't it be moved there?
I'd go with it. If I was a young German boy in WWII, I wouldn't be thinking "Hey, this is wrong!" I'd be thinking I was ridding the world of a dirty race in the same way as killing a bunch of animals with a deadly disease.
I'd do my job and I'd feel good about it. I'd feel good that I was protecting my superior German bretheren from these dirty people.
Hitler was a brilliant public speaker. I have no doubt that many of the Nazi personnel were of the thought that they were going the right thing. I probably wouldn't think the same way that I do now if I was brought up in Nazi Germany. Culture has a resounding affect on how people grow up and the points of view they take.
Young boys were drilled in school to not have an own opinion. They were not supposed to be intelligent, but to be physically strong, to love Hitler more than their own parents and be ready to die for him and the nazi ideas anytime. Kids were trained to spy on their parents, they had to mistrust them, since education at home was probably one of the most dangerous things for Hitler's planned army of fighting machines. The first thing a german learned at school was that the Jew is their natural enemy.
Most of the things that were done to Jews during that time were so incredibly repulsive that they - in my opinion - could impossibly be done by people with conscience. It was far more than just killing people. And every single Nazi was a monster.
I don't like this thread. I don't mean to be rude, it's just that I don't think anyone can really comprehend what was during that time. Because, as I said, it was not only about killing people and obey orders, it was about being able to destroy other people in the most humiliating ways one can imagine. It's a completely different mentality, and I kinda feel like the crimes commited in the Third Reich are somehow belittled here.
I'm from Germany - sorry for the mistakes. Corrections are welcome, I'm willing to learn.
It is very hard to say, but I'm willing to go with the idea that most everyone would probably go along with it. Oftentimes, though we may dissent against things that sound cruel to us when looking in on an outside perspective, were we actually in the exact same situation, we probably wouldn't act much more noble than those who we are criticising.
Take for example the Milgram experiment, in which an average, unwitting volunteer, in the role of a "teacher", was to punish a "confederate" or actor, with electric shocks every time they answered incorrectly to a question. Whenever the volunteer would start to get uneasy at the screaming and pleading by the man they were apparently torturing, a "professional/authoritative figure" would urge them to continue, on the grounds that they would not get their $25 or whatever the reward was if they stopped. Overwhelmingly--I believe it was about 60%--the volunteer ended up "killing" the confederate.
There are several variants to this experiment that yielded differing results, including having the volunteer actually be in the same room with the person he was "torturing", or having a less professional-looking person presiding over it, but either way it shows how we respond to authority, and how easily a "moral" and "good" person will resort to doing horrible things, despite personal ethics.