20 Th Century

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By Jonathan Glover

This crucial ebook confronts the brutal heritage of the 20 th century to solve the mental secret of why such a lot of atrocities occurred--the Holocaust, Hiroshima, the Gulag, Cambodia, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and others--and how we will be able to hinder their recurrence. Jonathan Glover unearths nerve-racking similarities within the psychology of these concerned with atrocities, but bargains desire that the advance of a political and private ethical mind's eye can empower us to withstand all acts of cruelty.

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2 Ahmad Qabazard was a nineteen-year-old Kuwaiti held by the Iraqis. An Iraqi officer told his parents he was about to be released. They were overjoyed, cooked wonderful things, and when they heard cars approaching went to the door. When Ahmad was taken out of the car, they saw that his ears, his nose and his genitalia had been cut off. He was coming out of the car with his eyes in his hands. 3 Journalists from outside were able to visit places in Iraq where prisoners of Saddam Hussein's regime had been held.

So neither can he act contrary to the equally necessary self-esteem of others . . 1 Our inclination to show this respect, and our disgust at someone's humiliation, is a powerful restraint on barbarism. The weakening of this restraint may have contributed to the Amritsar massacre. In 1919, in India, troops under General Dyer fired for ten minutes into a peaceful Indian political meeting. They killed between 500 and 1,000 people and wounded a similar number. How could General Dyer have ordered this atrocity?

Historical events are not just explained by individual psychology. The First World War and the depression of 1929-31 may have contributed more to Nazism than the motives and beliefs of particular Nazis. But in this discussion the emphasis will be on the role of individual people. The murders did not just happen impersonally: they needed the actions of individual Nazis. ' And, if their actions came from deeply rooted features of 44 • Humanity human psychology, these psychological characteristics continue to matter, despite the disappearance of the depression and the First World War into increasingly distant history.

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