Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Understanding GenocideThe Social Psychology of the Holocaust$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Leonard S. Newman and Ralph Erber

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195133622

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195133622.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 15 October 2018

Perpetrator Behavior as Destructive Obedience

Perpetrator Behavior as Destructive Obedience

An Evaluation of Stanley Milgram’s Perspective, the Most Influential Social-Psychological Approach to the Holocaust

(p.91) 4 Perpetrator Behavior as Destructive Obedience
Understanding Genocide

Thomas Blass

Oxford University Press

What psychological mechanism transformed the average, and presumably normal, citizens of Germany and its allies into people who would carry out or tolerate unimaginable acts of cruelty against their fellow citizens, the Jews, resulting in the death of six million of them? The question is especially compelling given the fact that, as some historians of the Holocaust have noted, those who participated in the genocide generally did so willingly, not under duress. This chapter evaluates the adequacy of what has been, arguably, the most influential psychological account of perpetrator behavior during the Holocaust, the social-psychological approach of Stanley Milgram (1963, 1974). Milgram's theorizing about the behavior of perpetrators was based on a series of experiments on the dynamics of obedience to authority and the effects of punishment on learning.

Keywords:   Holocaust, genocide, Germany, Jews, Stanley Milgram, perpetrators, behavior, social psychology, authority, obedience

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .