Would You Have Done It, Too?
Many people believe that they have a high set of morality. They believe that if given negative circumstances then they would make the right decision. That is how many of those serving in the German Armed Forces felt during World War II at the onset of their service. Many of the men did not wish to carry out the atrocities that they have come to perform, but they were just running under orders. Many felt that they could not perform the killings that they were assigned. However, as the war progressed and the killings became common place, many of the men became more comfortable with it. To the common person this would seem appalling. How could anyone in their right minds carry out such crimes against humanity? But the truth is that the majority of the people in society probably would carry out these things because they were following orders. The men of Reserve Police Battalion 101 were called upon to kill and while many of them felt bad about it, they still performed the duty they were assigned.  As Browning states, If the men of Reserve Police Battalion 101 could become killers under such circumstances, what group of men cannot?” This showed that even the noblest soldier could become a murderer when given the order to kill innocent civilians.  As the gentleman said on Mein Krieg, he did “not have a guilty conscience,” because what he did was all under orders. This has come to be the main reason that the common soldiers were not punished for atrocities, orders are orders and only the commanders can be tried.
 Browning, Christopher. Ordinary Men. HarperCooper Publishing. New York. 1998. 189.
 Eder, Harriet and Thomas Kufus. “Mein Krieg.” USA. 1993.