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Social and Psychological Theories in the depiction of the Wannsee meeting in the film Conspiracy - Essay Example

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The film "Conspiracy" is a reenactment of the meeting at the Grossen-Wannsee suburb of more than a dozen high-ranking Nazi officials wherein the execution of the so-called "Final Solution", the eradication of Jews, was discussed. It presents a haunting portrayal of the events that transpired as recorded in the real-life "Wannsee Protokoll" written by Adolf Eichmann, the only surviving document validating the part that the Nazi played in the extermination of Jews.
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Social and Psychological Theories in the depiction of the Wannsee meeting in the film Conspiracy
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Social and Psychological Theories in the depiction of the Wannsee meeting in the film Conspiracy

Download file to see previous pages... "Conspiracy" is a real eye-opener as it opens a whole new load of questions for the viewer. We already know that the Holocaust already happened, but what is really mind-boggling is how is became possible in the first place. How killing 11 million lives could just be a matter of logistics: how much would it cost How to dispose of the bodies And here, we see the machinations of the hands that turn the wheels, so to speak.
Now we could try to form an understanding, an attempt to grasp the psychological ruminations of those involved, by explaining their actions through some knows social and psychological principles. For example, what makes it possible for individuals to carry out evil or genocide
Whenever a group, with the majority in unison, is involved in a decision-making process, they "tend to stifle dissent because group harmony is the anticipated outcome" (Heffner). In the movie, the men were unanimous in declaring their hatred for Jews. The meeting is also dominated by Reinhard Heydrich, a charismatic man who knows how to manipulate his colleagues, and to stifle any arising objection. Wilhelm Kritzinger, who expressed doubts on the matter of extermination based on moral grounds was merely deprecated. The few men who tried to argue against extreme policies eventually give way to the more dominant consensus. "When we all agree, and are happy with that agreement, we typically do not want to hear opposing arguments" (Heffner). This phenomenon is called "group think" and many aspects of the conference, including the characters' behaviors display this. Here, the individual's mind takes a back seat and the "group mind" takes over.
Meanwhile, the principle of Group Polarization happens when a group tends to takes an "extreme position". Fuelling each others' beliefs, they become so hyped-up by and convinced of their positions, that they end up hastily agreeing to an idea without considering other aspects of the debate (Heffner). An example of this happened when the talk of "relocation" to Madagascar turns to "extermination" or the "final solution" while the officials express their hate of and regard for sub-humanity of Jews. Aside from the Holocaust, some examples of "group think" taken to the extremes due to Group Polarization include "lynch mobs, actions of the Ku Klux Klan, discrimination among hate groups, and mass riots" (Heffner). Also, the Nazi officials do not look particularly menacing or murderous, but as a whole, they have managed to put a stamp to the death certificate of an entire race. Fundamentally, the decision theory, "a body of knowledge and related analytical techniques of different degrees of formality designed to help a decision maker choose among a set of alternatives in light of their possible consequences" ("Decision Theory") which governs groups including that of the Wannsee meeting, is that of "group think" and Group Polarization.
It could also be noted that the officers never used the words "killing" or "murder", merely "evacuation" in labor camps with harsh conditions designed for slow and eventual death, those who will survive will be "treated accordingly". This kind of masquerading serves to desensitize them of the reality of what they are actually doing. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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