Teaching The Holocaust: Some Lessons Learned 


From: Tiatorio, A., Freedom and Equality: The Human Ethical Enigma


                As a culminating capstone in the United States history program, in the late 1970’s we added a Holocaust  ethics unit and discovered some false trails imbedded in the methods and materials readily available to us. The first of these was the propensity present in many strategies to blame evil  doers for the Holocaust.  We quickly learned that the atrocities of the Holocaust needed to be put into perspective for students who naturally ask why and how.  No ethical growth will occur when the answer is simply that evil Nazis did it.  Since students are neither Nazis nor evil they will not be personally challenged by this approach.  They will empathize with the suffering of the victims but be equally fascinated by the power of the oppressors since the innate human sense of reciprocity will work to cause them to assume that the victims must have done something to deserve their fate.    The real question for ethical consideration is how did ordinary people go so wrong and do such horror while trying to do good.  Or, might I have done this too? For ethics education to be effective students need to identify personally with root causes which require study of the doers of the deed. It became clear that this is about each person’s internal ethical authority   and ethical growth results from looking into one’s self.

                A second false trail is to focus on the failure of good people to stand up against evil . A favorite Holocaust  discussion starter is Maurice Ogden’s poem, “The Hangman”  in which an executioner enters a town and runs rampant hanging one person after another.  Finally the hangman tells the sole survivor why he had murdered them all: First the alien… then the Jew. I did no more than you let me do.  This simplistic approach to Holocaust study is actually dangerous since it identifies some people as good and others as bad and advocates conflict.  It is very dangerous to believe that we good people must be ever vigilant and must stand together against those bad people intent on doing harm. This mindset is at the root of the Holocaust itself and the ironic appeal to it is absurd on its face.

                A third widespread Holocaust false trail is to search for its roots in racist anti-Semitism. This very common mistake leads to a study of the long, and very real, history of anti-Semitism in Christian Europe and is assisted by the availability of learning materials and lesson plans outlining it as well as some recent scholarly work promoting it.  The persecution of Jews by the Nazis was, in fact, an outcome of the Holocaust, not the cause.  To use this misreading of history as a vehicle for ethics study will once again fail because students will not identify with the problem. They will dismiss it as an unfortunate past disaster and feel free of it themselves knowing that neither they nor their society is generally anti-Semitic.  Ethics always needs to be reduced to real people making real decisions. This is the only way students can relate the Holocaust or any other ethical issue to themselves and to the world they actually live in. 

                The Holocaust   is tangled within a complex of contributing and even enabling causes, too comprehensive for typical secondary school curriculums, but the ethical issue is actually quite evident and accessible. At the core of the Holocaust was an ethical breakdown in a vast majority of Germans who willingly participated in it.  The Nazis were both a cause of and an effect of this break down and their policies were made possible by it.  How this happened is best revealed through the historical study of the social application of the science of genetics .  It is a slippery slope ethical dilemma that pivots on the ability of average people to judge the ethical merit and implications of various courses of action being advocated by powerful societal aggressive moralism . The Holocaust is a complex ethical conundrum at the center of which is unchallenged external authority  and in particular, unchallenged scientific and medical authority   bolstering a perverted political agenda. The ethics of science involves its application and ultimate impact on people, and its outcome is in fact a social issue. Everyone needs to consider the ethical ramifications of a relentlessly advancing scientific frontier. It's not the science itself, but the weight of scientific authority   in influencing and supporting political decisions that yields its ethical importance and this is where the Holocaust focus should be.

                 The Holocaust began with breath taking advancements of the field of genetics  during the late 19th Century.  It became fashionable to believe that disease, mental illness even crime could be wiped out by selective breeding and it was toward this so called eugenic end that the Holocaust quested.  How it went so terribly wrong can only be understood by letting go of the evil   and even Hitler and his diabolical henchmen and concentrating on the German people themselves.  It was the ethical weakness of average people created by too much reliance on external ethical authority  and too little confidence in an atrophied internal ethical authority   that resulted in their inability to first see and then finally to resist the direction in which their society was moving. The relentless killing machine they created began with the sterilization of “undesirables” in the name of racial hygiene   almost immediately after Hitler came to power in 1933 progressed to the euthanasia of helpless handicapped German children and ended with the attempted extermination of Jews and others.  This began long before Hitler

                What the Aryan Germans thought was good was not only bad for handicapped children, Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and anyone else identified as a threat to the German gene pool,  it was ultimately a disaster for them as well. This is the irony of ethics.  People rarely if ever act with conscious evil   intent, but they usually exercise their ethical responsibilities within very narrowly defined groups and generally view outsiders negatively.  Nazism was a race based ethic that defined the cooperative group in a way that allowed the natural human ethical sense to justify actions toward outsiders that would be unthinkable toward one of their own.  Far too many people didn’t count in the Nazi German ethical calculus. Students learn from Holocaust study that the voice of the group is not ethics.

                 It is important to ponder this because in determining our ethical responsibilities we are fundamentally no different ourselves. Increasing our sense of responsibility to the wider and less personal groups to which we belong is an ongoing effort in ethics education. Finding ways to relate Holocaust  study to the everyday lives of students should be the focus of ethics lessons. Why did millions of ordinary people, good people, just like us support and even participate in this atrocity? What prevented them from seeing it for what it was and stopping it?  These are the questions that turn the study back onto the student. Could it happen here?  What would I have done?  When one searches for evil the students are let off the hook. Students are not evil and they don’t identify with evil doers.  In fact among sane human beings there is no evil in any meaningful ethical sense, only poor judgment.  It’s every person’s individual responsibility to make ethical choices.  These choices are driven by some powerful innate ethical imperatives that need to be tempered by reason. Understanding one’s self is the paramount first step.

                We found it useful to begin Holocaust   study by examining some of the ideas of Eric Fromm  and we used some selections from his book Man for Himself.  Fromm’s ethics is based on human nature and as such it is consistent with the belief in an innate ethical sense that is basic to ethics study. He correctly, in my view, asserts that an urge for freedom  is a fundamental part of human nature, but he believes that this freedom is frightening and people have difficulty coping with it, particularly after the spread of individualism  in the modern West had isolated human beings by eliminating the old authoritarian communal life style model of the middle ages.  Individual freedom and responsibility is daunting and people tend to seek refuge in external authority . They easily submit to outside power.  This, in our view, represents the essential cause of the Holocaust and is the conceptual base for the instructional strategy we developed.  Ethics is about knowing one’s self and building a sense of internal ethical authority   in order to actualize the innate human need to be free. It was in this specific way, that Fromm was useful.

                The power of traditional sources of authority in German society was very strong in the beginning of the 20th Century.  It was the confluence of these public authorities, government, church, and education that magnified the message and made it ultimately irresistible once the Nazi propaganda machine had co-opted the entire voice of aggressive moralism  .  The clinching authority was that of science and in particular of medical science that trumpeted the urgency of attention to the social impact of genetics . The cynicism  of most Americans today has generally neutralized the power of traditional public authorities, while freedom  of speech  and press  resists the kind of closing of minds that occurred in the Third Reich.  Science, however, remains the only secular public authority still clinging to a mantle of sanctity and this gives added import to this kind of Holocaust  focus.



 Teaching The Holocaust: Listening To Students


                Throughout my career, after completing the Holocaust unit, it was my practice to ask my students to write an essay reflecting thoughtfully on their experience and to tell me honestly what they believed they gained from it. These essays were voluntary; they were not graded or returned and were not part of the course per se but were my own personal self assessment tool. Students understood this and that the purpose of the essay was to evaluate the program.  They also understood that I would share their views, anonymously, with colleagues as part of the curriculum development process. I taught this Holocaust unit most recently to an advanced 11th grade United States history class.  I have collected meaningful but manageable excerpts from this final set of evaluative essays that will clearly show the effectiveness of this kind of mature thinking skills approach to ethics education at the secondary level and the personal impact it has on students. The Dear Sandra Teacher’s Guide is directly based on this unit and although I did not use the novel with this class, adding Dear Sandra further humanizes and focuses the study as well as providing a framework for teachers not thoroughly versed in the history of the Holocaust.


The following presentation of student responses begins with one complete “typical” essay and is followed by excerpts from 16 others. 



Holocaust Essay by an 11th Grade Boy


                This study of the Holocaust has made me think in many ways; about people, about life, about the world we live in. I have come to many conclusions as to why people, such as the Nazi's do things the way they do, or why they do them at all for that matter. I have yet to find a solid answer to this question, and will struggle to find it here.

Why would somebody do this? Is the question that has boggled my mind? I have learned that the answer to that question is that they [the Nazi's] did it (1) because they could; no one tried to stop them or prevent them for doing what they wanted, and (2) because they thought that what they were doing was the right thing. They thought that they were doing a favor to the world by trying to get rid of all other groups but their own. But, still...Why would they do this? Why would you want a world where all people look alike, act alike, and where everyone is basically the same person? This question has taught me to take the differences in people as a blessing. I am so glad that we have people who are all different and independent; if Hitler had it his way, we would all be blonde haired, blue eyed, and all think, act, and feel the same ways. I can't imagine a life like that.

This Holocaust study has led me to think about life in general a lot. I am so thankful that I live in a country that allows me to be who I want to be, no matter what religion, what race, what colored eyes. I am so thankful that I live in a country where I am free and don't have to run from anyone nor myself like we saw in "Europa, Europa." I would hate to have to be running from my true identity all the time. I try not to take life for granted, after learning of this brutal, hateful attack on the world's blessing: difference. I try to live each day as it is my last and to live life day by day. It is scary to imagine living a life where your fate is chosen at the hands of a single person's hateful vision, as many people did during the Holocaust. This study of the Holocaust has made me re-think what I consider important in my life. What kind of world do we live in, anyway? Why can't people accept differences? Sure, at times it may seem that differences do divide us, as Hitler and the Nazi's thought, but it is difference that actually unites us and keeps us going. What is it about difference that scares us? Why can't we live together? I have come to learn that there is always the leader of a group and the people in the group who try to live up to the leader and please him or her, causing a sort of "peer pressure." In the case of the Holocaust, Hitler is the leader, and the Nazi's are his followers. They try to please him with every move, even if that means doing something that they didn't want to do, such as the senseless beating, killing, and torture of many people. I have learned from this unit that it’s so important to be your self and not to fall into the traps of people seeking attention and confidence by committing illegal acts.

Another question I have continually asked myself throughout the study of this unit is why didn't people try to stop what was going on ? The best answer I have to this question is that people didn't try to stop what was going on because they had no reason to. Why fix something when it isn't broken? For a Nazi, life was great. They had very few worries and many chances to have fun. It would make no sense to stop doing what they had come to know was right. Again, this proves that it is very important to be one's self.

                The Holocaust is an event that touches everyone's life in some way no matter what country a person is from, no matter what race or religion one is, no matter what age a person is. More importantly, the Holocaust is a tragic event from which all people can learn. Many things are important to learn about the Holocaust, not just the facts about the event itself, but also life skills that people can carry with them to live a better life. From my study of the Holocaust, I have learned just how important it is, for me, not to take life for granted, something simple that all people probably learn from their study of this event. Another thing I have learned is the importance of individuality. If all people were individuals and followed their own hearts and footsteps, not many people would have joined the Nazi party , and it would have been extremely difficult for the Holocaust to take place at all. Also, a person is much happier when he or she does what he or she wants and not to let anybody else influence them in the wrong way. Why the Holocaust is an extremely tragic, devastating event, is also a valuable life-teaching tool which we can make use of now, to prevent anything like this from happening in the future.


Excerpt from an 11th grade girl


… The Nazis failed to realize that the individual people are valuable and an important part of society due in part to their prejudices against these people. It is part of human nature to dislike anything different or strange; therefore it was easier for Germans to discriminate against the "outsiders." The propaganda presented to students in schools promoted this prejudice against anyone who was not Aryan and a Nazi. Therefore it was inculcated in a whole generation of Germans that they were clearly superior to anyone and everyone unlike them. This was understandably not a teaching that many Germans would want to disagree with. Life as a young Nazi was full of fun and enjoyment, as sports and having children were emphasized as more important than everything else. The inherent prejudice against Jews coupled with the belief that the Aryan race was the best race is what contributed to these Nazis' ability to persecute and kill others. In Germany all the necessary factors came together in order to make the Holocaust a plausible event. The nation' s prejudice against other people had the chance to manifest itself when so-called "scientific" evidence showed that Aryans really were superior. The persecution and murder of thousands was not carried out by a select few of insane political extremists, but it was carried out by the average people, who were logically convinced into believing that what they were doing was right. This shows the power that propaganda can have over us and how we can be influenced into doing something that is viewed as so blatantly wrong by others. …


Excerpt from an 11th grade boy


… While the Holocaust is the most horrific of all events in world history, and Adolph Hitler is possibly one of the world's most immoral leaders, both of these receive all negative attention, which shouldn't necessarily be the case. As I have learned for the first time this year, my junior year in high school, the Holocaust and the Nazis behind it believed that they were doing the right thing, and that they were being morally correct. Also, Adolph Hitler believed himself to be a hero, an individual who was solely preserving the existence of a lone race. …  It should be taken into consideration that students need to be able to learn about these things in all aspects. … The one area that Hitler really succeeded in; convincing the Nazis that making the Jews an extinct race was in the best interest of Germany. So, when the Nazis are studied as human beings and not as vicious murderers, it is understood that they were falsely led by Hitler, but that they truly did believe that everything they did was for the good of their country.  Americans today do things for their country, and while nothing like the Holocaust will ever occur again, going to war for our country and sometimes killing innocent people from other countries is often considered noble and respected …


Excerpt from an 11th grade girl


… Instead of standing up for what they believe in, they would rather go along in the group. Hoping they could blend in and no one would notice them. Keeping them out of harm’s way and safe. I believe that is the case for most of the people who succumbed to Hitler and the Nazi’s. It was more to go along with the group than the fact that they really believed it. But, after a while most of them probably started to really believe it …

Excerpt from an 11th grade boy


                … Six million innocent people unjustly murdered, uncounted others wrongfully imprisoned, and millions terrorized. And the monsters committing these atrocious acts, were they genetically altered people, horrible people? Alas, no, the people who were committing these crimes were simple, everyday people, the baker, the teacher, police officers, and common citizens. The question arises, "what could have possibly possessed these people to make them act in this horrible way, in such a way that they would go against their personal beliefs and instead go along with a crowd that wanted to destroy an entire religious group?" The simple answer is that these people wanted to be a part of a group that was absolutely great if you fit in to its ridged criteria. The yearning for being accepted by a group is easily seen within the Nazi culture.  … Yet, alas not everyone conformed to the group, and many people chose to simply follow their personal beliefs. … the belief in looking out for oneself was a reoccurring theme throughout the time period in Germany and German occupied territories. In a more personal belief as to what has happened in the Nazi Germany, although I am sickened by the crimes that had been committed, I also believe that moral people, simply brainwashed into doing immoral things, committed the crimes. …



Excerpt from an 11th grade girl


… I believe that this lesson was extremely important in that it showed the Holocaust from the Nazi point of view while also still incorporating the horrific actions of the Nazis. Learning more about the Nazi mentality made me realize how bizarre and odd their beliefs were. …Although the beliefs and some of the actions of the Nazis were completely incorrect and illogical, hundreds of thousand people followed the orders without a second thought. This is the most incredible part of the Holocaust. The fact that human beings could overlook the killings of millions of innocent people and go so far as to believe that doing so was morally correct is appalling. I believe that through this lesson and many others, I have learned that it is important to remember the past or else we are doomed to repeat it in the future. More importantly though only this lesson has taught me to look past the numbers and facts. Learning that although it is important that one realizes that some 6 million Jews were killed and that hundreds of thousands more were so emaciated that they were on the brink of dying, it is more important that one understands the things that can't be expressed in photographs or with numbers. It is essential that one realizes why people went along with the Nazi policy and also why it took a World War in order to stop Hitler and it is this lesson that has taught me that. …


Excerpt from an 11th grade boy


… As Germany slid down the slippery slope of death and destruction, the ideal of "eat or be eaten" came into being. People were forced to join the machine or be crushed by it. Perhaps if all those who opposed the Germans had risen up, they could have succeeded. But individuals who rose up against the machine were bound to be crushed and left by the wayside, like those who they intended to save. … While most people were being sucked into the Nazi programs by propaganda and the desire to be part of the group, those who stayed firm in their personal beliefs were quieted, either by force of by fear. Herein lies the significance of the Holocaust in the study of human society and ethics. The legacy of death, cruelty, and brutality left in the wake of the Third Reich is still remembered with sadness and regret today. However, this seemingly odd occurrence, in which an entire society was manipulated to serve one party and one leader, is not that far removed from recurring. …


Excerpt from an 11th grade girl


…This unit has caused me to think about my beliefs and ideals on many different levels. I have found that my previously established mental divisions are not quite so concrete- that the borders between these two separate regions have been blended. Two distinct entities that I had once regarded as black and white now seem to be lost in a sea of gray ambiguity. Through this unit, I found that the dark anti-Semitic, hateful tendencies of the Nazis mixed in with my former concept of the democratic purity of the United States. Similarly, the obscured evil of the Nazis began to be speckled with the clearness of reason. I began to question some of my own science-based beliefs, as I was shocked that although I in no way condone Nazi actions, I shared some of their fundamental ideologies. In the end, I came to the conclusion that all humans are fundamentally alike; the only thing that causes them to behave differently is a discrepancy in environmental conditions. The German people were exposed to a unique set of circumstances, and slipped rapidly down the "slippery slope," losing all controlling ability. I have found that the world is not so simply defined as I once thought. The line between what is perceived to be right and wrong is always open to interpretation and differs depending on which side you are on …


Excerpt from an 11th grade boy


… In the beginning of the unit, I had trouble seeing what the connection was between the holocaust and American History. Indeed the course is called US history. But the connection came with one of the readings. If I remember correctly, it was a reading about sterilization. It talked about how the United States was 'going to use sterilization for Racial Hygiene, just the same way Nazi Germany did. I thought that was unbelievable. The holocaust seemed so far away and isolated that it was so surprising that the same ideologies were believed right inside the United States. …


Excerpt from an 11th grade girl


… There was no mystical brainwashing that occurred overnight in Germany throughout the 1930's and 1940's. Instead there was a ceaseless reiteration of false values within young impressionable minds; minds so vulnerable they originally had nowhere else to turn for survival. Some of the original members of the Nazi Party may have been those people who had already possessed altered morals, those who would do absolutely anything to gain control and power, those aware of the magnitude of evil which they produced but did not care. These selfish, manipulative, power hungry people still exist within all societies. In order to avoid being influenced by these few, the majority must remain individuals whose morals are impenetrable. We must never leave a country so destitute that their only means to an end is to lose themselves and become part of a machine as the people of Germany did over sixty years ago. …


Excerpt from an 11th grade boy


… Trusting the judgment of others is another reason that the Nazi party was able to gain tremendous popularity in Germany. When people trust, they continue their lives without even a second look at what they are doing. When a good soldier hears a command to fire, he does not make sure that his target is a threat, he fires. The soldier trusts his commander and trusts his decisions. The Aryan race trusted Hitler's judgment on the issue of removal of the Jews and therefore did not question the ethical matters of the decision. …


Excerpt from an 11th grade girl


… The main element separating this study from more simplistic explanations that cut this period short was the focus of the curriculum. Concentrating particularly on the masses of Germany during this time, it allowed for a greater analysis of the surrounding factors in the rise of Adolph Hitler. Juxtaposing the students' previous knowledge of the Nazi's terrifying destruction of life with the national pride and glory felt by members of the Aryan Race this study established a basis for the complex labyrinth of human conscience and opens the examination of propaganda and its effect of the basic need of human beings to belong to a larger order. This unique approach to teaching creates conflict over the commonly held belief that the Nazi's were at best a bloodthirsty hate group and exposes their true identity as misguided, disillusioned human beings. …


Excerpt from an 11th grade boy


… It was not Hitler and his generals who actually performed the killings, but the German people. Also, they did not act believing they were carrying out genocide, but believed they were fighting a war to keep their race alive and pure. Many countries supported the ideas that provoked the earliest stages of the Holocaust as scientific truth. It was the combination of all these factors, in a fascist country that allowed the Holocaust to be carried out. … and combined with all the citizen's Nazi spirit, they drew Germany down the slippery slope towards genocide.


Excerpt from an 11th grade girl


… The true abomination of the Nazis was not their attempt to wipe out an innocent race, or the unmerciful slaughter of millions, but their logic. The Nazis did not only want power, or money, or glory; they wanted to preserve the pure Aryan race, and make life easier for those select few who were genetically perfect. Their arguments against supporting the sick were logical, and many people, even today, can find themselves agreeing with many of the Nazi doctrines. The logic of the Nazi party is part of the reason why they were so successful. The other part is that the Nazis told the people what they wanted to hear. Who wouldn't love to be called the supreme race of the world? How can you not believe that you are the best when there is any kind of fact placed in front of you proving it? Nazis made life for the Aryans very purposeful. The Aryans, keepers of the perfect genes, must try to perpetuate their race, and must try to aid the Fuhrer in his quest to eliminate other races that would try to corrupt the pureblooded. The Aryan Germans belonged to an elite group, a group in which all the members were made to feel special, a group in which all enjoyed themselves thoroughly. The average Nazi couldn't care too deeply that he was helping to kill countless people just because they weren't Aryan, or else the Nazi party would not have been so successful. The average Nazi instead allowed himself to be overcome by a hate for outsiders, for a hate of anything impure, and accepted the logical but highly unethical goals of his party. Although most people today would become very defensive if it was suggested that they would make perfect Nazis, people by nature are willing to join elite groups that do bad things if the benefit of belonging to the group outweighs any moral leanings of the individual. I do not think that the German people who became Nazis were morally weaker than any average person today or then, I believe that people's morals can often be easily forgotten or misled when people are told that what they are doing is right in any minute way. When a person is made to feel that he is serving the group in a way larger than himself, when a person is made to feel that he is special in serving this group, is right in serving this group, his conscience is easy to stifle. Because the Nazis did this so well, they were extremely successful in trying to eliminate the Jewish people and bolster the Aryan race. Disturbingly, many people do not think another holocaust could ever happen. People today are just smarter, we won't forget the past, people can't be that heavily influenced by the government. But in all truth, a logical and religious modem people allowed themselves to be persuaded by a few fanatics into believing that a war on Jews was for the greater good. Stubbornly refusing to believe that something similar to the holocaust could never happen again is just silly. The holocaust did not happen because the German people are weak-willed or stupid. It happened because a government was able to convince a country using logical arguments that what they were doing was right. The scariest thing about the Nazis is not their use of brutality, or their lack of moral compunction for killing so many innocent people. The scariest thing is that what they were doing was considered right by so many logical and moral people. …


Excerpt from an 11th grade boy


… It's amazing to think what could have been. What could have been had Hitler decided to hold back before attacking the Soviet Union in 1941? What could have been if Hitler had not declared war on the United States? Could we all be speaking German right now? Would Judaism be completely wiped off the planet? Would we all have blond hair and blue eyes, with all lacking individuality? This all could have happened. The Holocaust shows a very big theme that occurs all the time in life. Although individual persons may be smart, when together people are stupid. Never under estimate the stupidity of people in numbers. It also shows the "slippery slope" idea. It starts off with not allowing inter-racial marriage then sterilization then to the killing of these people. …


Excerpt from an 11th grade boy


… Yet, Hitler himself was not the sole perpetrator, the current that fueled this wave of evil was not only Nazi party leaders, but, bankers, professors, military officials, doctors, journalists, engineers, judges, authors, lawyers, salesmen, police and basic civil servants. These people committed crimes against Jews and other undesirables for many reasons. Whether it be power, a belief in the "cause", or financial profit. The Nazi party began to whittle away at the public's views of right and wrong. They turned the extremes until right became wrong. For the public it becomes difficult to follow the voice of human conscience when you yourself have other plans and desires.

The human need to be part of something drove the people into groups and crowds which they did not totally agree with. The Nazi party took advantage of this need to belong and used it to their advantage. Starting with the very young, the Nazis ingrained their ideas into the minds of German youth. Programs like the "Hitler Youth" engaged anti-Semitic views into the lifestyle of many Germans. The people of Germany began to accept these views to be their own. Due to this, the social and political forces which might have been expected to rise up to the support for the Jews and other oppressed minorities in Europe failed to do so. The student bodies under the control of the Nazi party followed new traditions which glorified the sacrifices made for Germany. The protests of the churches, when they were made, were feeble and ineffective. …


Excerpt from an 11th grade girl


…The ideals pursued so vigilantly by the Nazis were certainly as barbaric and, now, ridiculous as any ever concocted. But the means by which they achieved their ends -propaganda, youth education, and outright force -were not new at all. Indeed, the present inundation of airwaves with the mantra "God Bless America - United We Stand" sometimes reminds me of a chant recited by Germans at so many hysterical rallies. Of course, the purposes behind these phrases are what count -but some would say that "United We Stand" suggests aggression, revenge, and inflexibility. Some would say that American civil liberties have been infringed upon repeatedly. If Germany's decline into the Holocaust was such a gradual "slope", where do we draw the line between our good, wholesome propaganda and theirs? …