(Mirror Daily, United States) – According to the latest research, the Nuremberg Defense might be scientifically valid, at least, parts of it. While the scientists admit that the people following the orders of the Nazi officers in World War II war coerced into doing so, they also state that the same coercion was not nearly enough to excuse the obedience of an inhumane order.
Scientists have discovered that the defense used in the Nuremberg trials (the trials that brought to justice Nazi officers and military men). The men involved pleaded that they were coerced into following orders given by their superiors.
According to a couple of letters belonging to Adolf Eichmann, an organizer of the Holocaust and important Nazi figure at the time, he and his peers were only instruments forced to do the binding of superior officers. Eichmann, as many other men that actively participated in the Holocaust, was trying to throw the blame at the people who actually uttered the inhumane orders.
The Nuremberg Trials did not end in their favor, and all of the accused paid for their crimes, no matter if they were the ones giving or executing the orders.
At the time of the trials, Eichmann asked for the help of a psychologist from Yale University, Stanley Milgram. The doctor conducted a study on “ordinary” individuals in order to determine if the Nuremberg Defense might be scientifically valid.
His conclusions were that individuals who received certain orders from authority figures felt coerced into following them, even though some of the demands were rather inhumane.
A lot of members of the scientific community disagreed with Milgram’s results. For example in 2000, Gina Perry analyzed Milgram’s experiments and discovered several problems in the methodology used by the Yale psychologist. According to the author of the “Shock Machine”, Milgram’s study was not properly controlled and it also didn’t introduce any variables which would otherwise drastically modify the study’s results.
Perry does admit that people, especially military men, feel coerced into following orders given by a person with higher authority, but in the end, the decision of complying with the said order remains that of the person receiving the order.
A professor at the London University College, Patrick Haggard, lead yet another study to see how coercion affects one’s capacity of making a decision. The results of his study pointed to the fact that the Nuremberg Defense might be scientifically valid.
Professor Haggard told the BBC that a person who is subdued by coercion has a tendency to distance himself or herself by the actual order. Conforming to what the professor said, when an individual receives a set of instructions, those orders have the capacity of changing the way the person feels about the activity that is carried out.
So it seems that Professor Haggard’s research proved the fact that the Nuremberg Defense might be scientifically valid, to a certain extent, of course.
Image source: www.wikimedia.org
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