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Rationalization

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Examining leadership and ethics in the context of the Holocaust reveals widespread failures of individuals, communities, societies, nations, and the international community.

The political and cultural factors that influenced people’s choices are unique to the context of the Holocaust. However, the social and psychological dynamics that played into people’s decisions and actions are timeless. These same human vulnerabilities can continue to pose challenges in our lives and our world today.

Rationalization is a psychological device to resolve the cognitive dissonance that comes with wanting to preserve our sense of being a good person while engaging in unethical behaviors or actions.

PowerPoint for classroom use (PPT)
Discussion guide for professor (PDF)
Additional background and resources (PDF)