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Can the Holocaust be forgiven? Show more Show less
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As a result of the Holocaust, over 6 million innocent Jews perished under Nazi rule. Beyond that, millions of innocent civilians were also murdered under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. Examining this massacre's atrocities and lasting trauma begs a tough question. Who, if anyone, should be forgiven of their involvement in the Holocaust?

The Holocaust can be forgiven Show more Show less

In an extremely oppressive regime, Nazi soldiers, the Jewish council, and Hitler Youth were forced to comply out of fear or indoctrination. If they did not comply, their families and their own lives would be at risk.
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Holocaust perpetrators were brainwashed so they can be forgiven

Soldiers and impressionable children were undoubtedly a target of the Nazi regime. They were brainwashed into believing that what they were doing was for the good of Germany.

The Argument

After Hitler came to power in 1933, the Hitler Youth had acquired over 50,000 members. By 1936, all other scouting and youth groups were banned in Germany.[1] Children were lured in by a life of comradeship and being a part of something bigger than themselves. The Reich forced young men to join the Hitler Youth to be trained as loyal followers of Hitler and join the Reich when they were old enough. They became loyal soldiers, believing that they were doing the right thing. Children were forced into the doctrine of the Nazi regime without a choice. They were specifically targeted by Nazi propaganda for the purpose of being brainwashed into believing a flawed ideology. Through every facet of entertainment, children were indoctrinated to believe it was their duty to serve the Reich. The Nazis infiltrated public schooling as well, flooding the curriculum with the views of Nazi scholars. Boys as young as 17 from the Hitler Youth were forced to serve in the military. [2] These boys were subjected to strict obedience to follow the Reich as they had been taught most of their life. Therefore, these young children should not be held accountable for their loyalty to the Reich and should be forgiven.

Counter arguments

Not all children joined the Hitler Youth. Groups of children decided to reject the Hitler Youth and create secret youth groups. One of the most notable underground groups was the Edelweiss Pirates. This group outwardly defied the Hitler Youth by attacking them and vandalizing their property. [1]Their resistance shows that children followed the Hitler Youth or defied the organization out of their own volition. Therefore, while children may have been a major target of propaganda, they had a choice in following it.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] Children are impressionable and don’t know better. [P2] The Hitler Youth targeted children to make them into soldiers. [P3] Children were lured into the Hitler Youth by indoctrination. [P4] They should be forgiven for not knowing that what they were doing was wrong.

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.history.com/news/how-the-hitler-youth-turned-a-generation-of-kids-into-nazis
  2. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/indoctrinating-youth

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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 15 Sep 2020 at 13:33 UTC

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