Intro to Psych
1 November 2015
Conformity drives people to do crazy things, and in turn, it has sculpted history, but the psychological strategies and effects are rarely recognized. Highly influential individuals have used conformity as a tactic to brainwash and control massive groups of individuals. People such as Adolf Hitler and Jim Jones are notorious for their ingenious ways of causing wide scale conformity. Their schemes affected the way their followers thought, leading to global change.
To begin with, Adolf Hitler’s approach to expanding the Nazi population required intense propaganda and brainwashing. In his book, Mein ...view middle of the document...
On the other hand, they quickly forget. Such being the case, all effective propaganda must be confined to a few bare essentials and those must be expressed as far as possible in stereotyped formulas. These slogans should be persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward.”
In this excerpt, Hitler notes how it is irrelevant to recognize the complete, unbiased truth, but it is important to shed light on the attitude and message the producers want to spur. It is also essential to make sure the massage is remembered. Often, a slogan is used to make sure every possible audience member understands and agrees with the said message. Once in power, Hitler developed a Ministry of Propaganda headed by Joseph Goebbels. The main goal of this ministry was to identify and persecute enemies in the public mind. Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, Bolsheviks, and those who supported and endorsed the Treaty of Versailles were broadcasted as “enemies.” Often times, Nazi propaganda comprised total lies. For example, a newspaper published that Jews kidnapped young children before Passover because "Jews need the blood of a Christian child, maybe, to mix in with their Matzah." Despite how absurd this sounds, readers believed it. Nazis were free to produce and share whatever they wanted once in power, and if enough people supported the Reich, others would conform just to prevent conflict.
The nazis were also famous for adopting national traditions as their own. This allowed broad audiences to identify with them. Any German that was proud of his/her nation would notice the nationalistic ties with the Nazi Party, allowing them to identify and support the group. The Nazi Party’s ideal demographic was the hard working German. After suffering from major setbacks from the Treaty of Versailles, the German economy tanked, causing a severe depression. Blue collar German workers would hear of Nazi preachings claiming that it is time for a change. Nazis professed they wanted to enable citizens to live a normal life again. It was nearly impossible for the struggling population to refuse this. Once the party received mass support, they would install their horrific ideologies, which also received support.
Another crucial area Hitler experienced a lot of success with was with the youth. The nazis infamously devised the Hitler Youth. The organization allowed German boys to join and gain early exposure to nazi thought. Boys fourteen to eighteen assembled into groups in communal locations. They met with other boys and were taught by SS officers. The boys would not only inherit nazi beliefs, but they would also receive training that would enable them to become future officers. Eventually, it became mandatory for children to join the Hitler Youth. Through this tactic, the nazis were breeding generations to come to agree with their ways. The most crucial time for people to develop personal ways of thinking is during the teenage years....