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How could so many people support Hitler? - Joseph Lacey


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Philosopher Hannah Arendt was a German Jew who dedicated herself to understanding how the Nazi regime came to power, and more specifically, how it inspired so many atrocities. She believed the true conditions behind the unprecedented rise of totalitarianism weren’t specific to Germany, and developed theories on how to best combat such threats. Joseph Lacey explores the work of Hannah Arendt.

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Hannah Arendt was one of the most famous philosophers of the 20th century and her influence continues to this day. She didn’t just write on totalitarianism, modernity, and the importance of thinking. She is also well-known for her writings on a range of other core philosophical themes that relate to human nature, society, and politics. These include her reflections on truth, judgment, citizenship, revolution, and forgiveness. For a general but detailed overview of some of Arendt’s major contributions, check out the entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

On the subject of thinking, some of Arendt’s key positions are summed up in a piece with the Los Angeles Review of Books. Meanwhile, the philosopher Judith Butler digs deeper into Arendt’s analysis of the Eichmann trial in The Guardian. You can also find a general discussion of these themes on the BBC radio program In Our Time.

Arendt’s work on the Eichmann trial proved controversial and led to tensions between her and some parts of the Jewish community in particular. In a rare appearance for German television, Arendt addressed the controversy and many other aspects of her work in a wide-ranging interview available here

This dramatic period of Arendt’s life was the basis of an award-winning 2012 movie, simply entitled Hannah Arendt. You can find the trailer here

Arendt’s writings continue to exert a major influence in our public sphere as op-eds inspired by her work continue to appear in a range of media outlets. Articles in The New York Times and The Atlantic highlight some of the issues that Arendt’s work can help to illuminate. Others put her work to direct use. For example, a piece in The New Yorker employs the work of Arendt to understand the situation in which contemporary refugees find themselves; an essay in the online magazine Aeon explores the contemporary problem of loneliness by drawing on Arendt’s writings; while a piece on the Open Democracy online news outlet calls upon Arendt’s insights on truth to analyze recent developments in political communication.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Joseph Lacey
  • Director Sarah Saidan
  • Narrator Christina Greer
  • Storyboard Artist Sarah Saidan
  • Animator Paul Cotoni
  • Compositor Paul Cotoni, Rafaël Massé
  • Art Director Sarah Saidan
  • Composer André Aires
  • Sound Designer André Aires
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Producer Sazia Afrin
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Fact-Checker Charles Wallace

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