When Hitler took power, many of his supporters went through drastic measures of rationalization to justify some of the Nazis’ most horrific actions. National Socialist supporters like Elizabeth Glebensleben did whatever she could to justify the removal of Jews and other “unworthy” peoples from German society. Being such a dedicated national socialist who saw Hitler as Germany’s savior, she saw him as an elevated figure who could do no wrong. So when her daughter, who was living outside of the country and could see the Nazis’ actions from a neutral perspective, pointed out about some of the atrocities committed by the Nazis, Elizabeth reacted uncomfortably and either tried to ignore the subject or feebly defend those actions. While deep down she probably knew those actions against the Jews were wrong, fear, loyalty, ignorance, or any combination of those led Elizabeth to ignore the horrors of the Nazi regime and continue to be a supporter. The Nazis’ indoctrination program of the German people worked and Marta Appel’s story shows how over a period of just several months, the German people slowly came to accept Nazi ideology and started to ignore her and her Jewish family.
Around the world today there are countless nations around the world where people have conformed to a government’s rule. Many people in the United States justify Donald Trump’s character despite his repeated lies and actions unbecoming of the most powerful leader in the free world. The Russian people have been exposed to so much propaganda that Putin, an egotistical strongman, holds absolute power in Russia with the support of a vast majority of the population despite having a weak economy and violating international laws with his military excursions into the Ukraine. There is the extreme case of conformity like North Korea where the people are so blindly loyal to their dear leader, that they can’t see that it’s the dear leader that has them living in such squalid conditions.
There are parallels between the Nazis’ control over the state and conformity and justification seen today in politics worldwide. It is up to the common citizens of their respective countries to recognize right versus wrong, even when a leader you support commits an act that no decent human should try to justify.