This is an essay I wrote freshman year, after watching "The Uprising" [as opposed to Schindler's List] and given the prompt, Can a moral man maintain his moral code in an immoral world?
Honors World History 9
‘Can a moral man maintain his moral code in an immoral world?’ was the theme from the movie Uprising, as asked by Mordacei Aneilewicz. That question remains unanswered today. But a bigger, more luminous question exists as well; were the Germans’ actions moral during the Holocaust? My answer is yes, they were moral, if unethical and inhumane.
Psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg stated that there are five stages of morality in a human. Stage four declares that if the law says it is so, and then if you are obeying the law, you are remaining moral. The law said that the Jews were scum, and to exterminate them. The Germans were following the law, so they were sticking to their moral code.
Adolf Hitler thought that there was an upper class of the human race, a superior class, the Aryans. Hitler and the Nazis thought that they were doing the world a favor, ridding it of the inferiors cluttering the Aryans existence. Namely, Jews, Catholics, blacks, homosexuals, the infirm, old, and mentally retarded. In their minds, they were doing the correct thing in that situation, and it was in their minds that they were obeying their morals.
Some Germans thought that what they did was above the law. Kohlberg says that is stage five of morality, believing that your opinion is better than law, if it is right. Schindler thought this (in Schindler’s List), and so did Commander Wilner (in Uprising). They both helped the Jews, even though that was betraying their own country. They were obeying their morals, because what they were doing was, in their minds, morally correct, even if it was breaking the law. They were also ethical and humane, unlike the others.
So, in conclusion, the German Nazis kept their moral code in an immoral world. Although, it was they themselves who created that immoral world, they stuck to what the law said, and they remained moral. In doing so, however, they destroyed the morals of others, like the Jews, and also took away their hope. And we can ask, is it more important to maintain morality, or keep ethical? That is a question that will fuel debates for all time.
Note: This does not necessarily reflect my own opinions. Its just an essay, don't read too much into it. Besides, I would make a terrible Nazi. I've got Compassion Syndrome. I take what everyone is feeling and reflect it on myself.