Proceedings of The 12th International Conference on Humanities, Psychology and Social Sciences
Modern Science, Nazi Germany Propaganda and Thoughtlessness in Hannah Arendt’s work
Mariana Henriques Martins
The mechanism of propaganda allied to the dominance of modern science played a major role in limiting the masses’ scope of thinking during Nazi Germany. Using a detailed analysis of Hannah Arendt’s works on the human condition and totalitarian regimes, and supporting them by Edward Barneys’ studies on propaganda, the present paper focuses on two essential points. One of them is the mechanism of Nazi propaganda itself, and the way it dismantled society’s inherent plurality by manipulating people’s minds, creating new necessities, indoctrinating masses for an intended purpose, and therefore encouraging the inability to perform a meaningful inner dialogue. The second point is correlated with the scientificality of this mechanism, inextricably linked with the rise of modern science, which, revolutionized western tradition and prepared the ground for the prevalence of what Arendt called thoughtlessness, the inability to think. Hannah Arendt’s philosophy is timeless for its urgent importance. It raises fundamental questions that promote meaningful debate about the way we think and act, which can lead Humanity to prevent atrocities like those of the past and motivate a growing awareness for the future.
Keywords: Hannah Arendt, Modern Science, Nazi Germany, Propaganda, Thoughtlessness.