After watching and reading the Milgram experiments there were a lot of things to say. The test results were surprising, and they say a lot about human nature. We would all like to think that we wouldn't be able to do something as horrible as shock someone with 450 volts, but for many it got to that point. The findings in the Milgram experiment spark many questions. “What are we truly capable of when obeying authority figures?”. “Why do we continue obeying even though it might hurt people?”. I think the Milgram experiments answered these questions. Having an authority figure that looks and sounds like they know what they're doing plays a huge role in this. The person running the experiment kept telling the subjects “Keep going, the shocks may be painful but they aren't dangerous.” The leader of the experiment also said he'd take responsibility for whatever happened to the subject being shocked, and this also made the person keep going. When we are presented with intelligence and authority we do what we're told, partly because we don't know any better. The subject continued shocking the person after the experimenter said he would take full responsibility for any complications. So, are we really more likely to obey when the responsibility is not on us? How far are we really willing to go? This phenomenon gives a great explanation and reasoning to the violence that was shown to the victims of the holocaust by regular people.
The Milgram experiments didn't demonstrate that people were very willing to inflict pain on others, but it showed that we allow corrupt leaders and people in authority positions to, in a way, control us. In Nazi Germany, normal people and Nazis discriminated against Jewish people and mistreated them because of orders. When people were told what to do, especially by a strong and convincing leader, a number of things could've gone into play. One of them could be fear. The fear of becoming watched, threatened or hurt from disobeying. Another one could be simple ignorance, that people just genuinely believed the propaganda being spread. Another thing could be that people just genuinely felt like they had no choice, that other people in their position would have to do the same thing.The last reason could be because they didn't have to face any consequences for the harm inflicted on others, because they were being told what to do. In their minds it isn't their choice, it's the choice of their leader or instructor. Now, this should be clear, I don't believe that everyone involved in hurting the victims of the holocaust had bad intentions or was a bad person, but instead some were trying to stop their own suffering. In the Milgram experiments, the video we watched showed one man who went all the way to 450 volts. Now let's think about this. Would this person, on a normal day, ever shock someone with 450 volts because a random person told them to do it? No, probably not. But the circumstances were different. Toward the end of the video, we can see the man asking the experimenter about who will be responsible for him, and when the experimenter says he would, the man continued with the shocks. Although he was told that the responsibility wasn't going to be on him, he was still in distress while trying to finish the shocks. I think in all, this shows that we aren't necessarily willing to inflict pain on others intentionally, but when we are put in a situation where other factors are involved, such as peer pressure, authority pressure, or even fear, we will do what needs to be done. Even if you believe it's okay because you aren't responsible, you would still feel terrible, because every human has a built in moral compass. I think people obey authority more when it's in a suit, and that could be any suit. As long as someone with authority is convincing enough to try and make you obey their commands, you will do it, because that's just how we are wired and taught. Most jobs with a hierarchy teach that you should never question a person of higher rank or authority, no matter what, and in the minds of most people at this time, it was an order, not a choice.