Essay: Magic Ritual and Myth

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Holocaust

The Quest for Order and the Holocaust

The quest for order is a part of human nature. Since the earliest civilizations, man has sought to attempt to create order from a seemingly chaotic world. The very beginnings of human civilization arose from this need to create order from chaos. Everything that man has done since then has arisen from the need to attempt to further create this order. Humanity continually searches for a higher order in their world. This research will explore how Adolf Hitler leveraged this need to create order in a chaotic world in order to bring about one of the greatest tragedies in human history, the Holocaust. This research will support the thesis that even though the world claimed to have learned from this and sweat that it will never happen again, when one examines the reasons why the holocaust happened, it becomes frighteningly apparent that it could happen again.

Background

Let us now examine the social factors in existence that allowed Hitler to successfully promote the Nazi agenda. It has suggested that a number of psycho-social factors led to the ability of the Nazis to gain the support of others. One of the predecessors of societal change is the need to restore order once something happens to disrupt the functioning of society. Bauman (n.d.) claims that when society malfunctions, people may respond to their need to return to order without regard to the possibility that others might be harmed in the process.

The year 1936 marked the official beginning of Hitler's rise to power. At that time, the German economy was in shambles. Poverty and losses in agricultural production exacerbated the feeling of dread and discontent that embraced the German populace. These troubles led to a government that was divided into factions, one favoring a free market to stimulate the German economy and the other calling for socialism and absolute government control to return Germany to a place of order and prosperity.

Hitler's first act that began the long slippery slope to the holocaust was an attempt to restore order to a failing German economy. His first proclamation involved several new laws, the first made economic sabotage punishable by death. The second made blamed the whole of the Jewish people liable for the failings of the German economy (Jewish Virtual Library, 2011). his document set the stage for the holocaust, providing Germans a way to restore order to their society. Hitler provided solutions for a people that were desperate for them. This basic need was the need to restore order to Germany and the German economy.

Hitler then attempted to deepen the sense of insecurity and chaos within the German people by talking about an upcoming war of great scale and magnitude. Hitler played upon the worries and struggles that already existed in the German people. Rather than calming their fears, he built up them by deepening their sense of fear with the chaos that would be created by the upcoming war. Hitler used a continually worsening German economy to "justify" the need to invade Austria and Czechoslovakia, thus beginning the second world war and the horrors that were to follow.

Hitler's Plan to Fulfill a Need

At the time of Hitler's rise to power, the German people were in a chaotic and desperate state. Their economy and society were crumbling around them and it looked as if it would only get worse with talk of an impending war. Hitler saw the situation and knew how to use the sense of fear and desperation to gain his power and to put his plan into action. Hitler knew that what the German people needed was someone who would instill a sense of order to their world. If someone could bring back a sense of control and hope, they would be seen as a hero and Hitler knew that the people would follow the leader who restored the peace in their lives.

Hitler's ability to gain the support of the people was based on his ability to provide a plan that would restore a sense of peace to their world. The ideal behind the holocaust was based on the ideals of Charles Darwin. The survival of the fittest led to the Hitler's concept of creating a "master race" that would eventually create a powerful and unstoppable Germany. This idea sounded good to a German people who were finding it difficult to provide for their basic necessities on a daily basis. Hitler promoted the idea to restore order to the chaos that permeated German society. Order is associated with power and chaos with weakness. Hitler promised to restore German power through promoting racial order (Jewish Virtual Library, 2011).

This was one of the first uses of the concept of creating order from chaos in Hitler's propaganda campaign. Hitler used symbols of order, both conscious and subconscious, to help build the public into a type of religious frenzy. He used symbols of order to work them into such a frenzy that they were willing to overlook the atrocities that were dealt upon the Jewish people in the name of creating "order" in the society. The German people felt a renewed sense of confidence and hope, one that they had not experienced in years, therefore they were willing to sacrifice a few to save the many and keep their renewed sense of peace and order.

Hitler sponsored grand building plans as symbols of German solidarity and power. Books were published and distributed that highlighted these books, so that they could be admired by all (Speer, 1936). Speer noted that the books were meant to be a symbol of continuity and permanency. One of the most notable features of Hitler's building designs is that of symmetry and order. Hitler used his buildings to symbolize order and the permanency of that order in Germany.

Hitler used the concept of classification to bring a sense of order as well. Hitler promoted the idea that the Jews were "dirty" and that the Aryans were "clean." When the Jews were forced into the ghettos, they became outwardly "dirty" due to the conditions of the ghettos. Though, this was through no fault of their own, Hitler was able to use the ghettos as a way to promote the idea that Jews were unclean and therefore needed to be "cleansed." This idea was carried further into the idea that "cleansing" the "dirty" Jews would cleanse German society; thus restoring order and harmony. Chaos is frightening because it is uncontrollable. Order gives the sense of controllability, and therefore alleviates fear. Hitler used the cleansing of the Jews as a way to restore a sense of control through the restoration of order to German society.

Humans have several methods that are used to deal with "dirt" and chaos. We try to physically control or contain it. We try to avoid it, such as with social exclusion, the ghettos, or caste systems. We try to rid ourselves of it in some way. This is what Hitler convinced the Germans to do with the Jewish people. He literally and figuratively treated them like dirt in every derivation of the word. He was successful in convincing others to go along with his plan because he promised to solve their "dirt" problems and restore the society to order and "cleanliness." Hitler used an appeal to basic human nature, creating what resembled a religious cleansing of sorts.

The symbols of order were found throughout Hitler's society, further promoting this idea of "cleanliness" as being represented by the Aryan nation. This gave the unspoken message that anything that was not of the Aryan nation was "dirty" and should be avoided and disposed of. Some of the visual symbols that were used to promote the idea of order in the minds of the people were the perfectly ordered ranks of soldiers all marching to the perfect cadence of their own boots. The ordered sound of the marching soldiers was perfectly measured and promoted a sense of order. The crowds of people all making the "Heil Hitler" sign in unison is another example of using order in symbolism. These symbols of order were well-known, but even today, seldom do people stop to think about what they represent to the human psyche in terms of relieving fear created by chaos. These were psychological tricks that were used to imbed the ideals of the Nazi party into the minds of the general population.

Perhaps the most profound symbols of order were Hitler's factories. They were symbols of societal productivity and perfection. Each widget moving down the line in an ordered pace and each worker executing their task with exacting precision and timeliness. The factories were a symbol of Germany's stability and future power. Perhaps the most terrifying symbols were the efficiency of the "killing factories" such as Auschwitz. They carried out the task of extermination with sterile precision and efficiency. They were the ultimate symbol of the cleansing and restoration of order to the society and were one of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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