On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century - Chapter 5-Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Timothy Snyder
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Summary

Chapter 5 addresses professional ethics and the role civil servants play in tyranny. The author again uses the example of Germany and notes that the Holocaust and other atrocities committed by the Nazis could not have occurred without the cooperation of lawyers, doctors, businessmen, and bureaucrats. People in these positions, therefore, must refuse to cooperate with tyrants and their policies. In particular, he notes that Hitler’s personal lawyer, Hans Frank, became the governor-general of occupied Poland, overseeing the murder of millions of Jews. Frank justified his actions by stating that the law’s purpose was to serve the German race and thus actions that appeared to serve the race were, by default, lawful. Broadly, Snyder argues that “there is no such thing as ‘just following orders’” (40). Individuals must maintain their own personal and professional ethics, especially when the state sets a poor example...

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This section contains 1,346 words
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Buy the On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century Study Guide
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