New York: Viking Press, 1963.
First Edition. Hardcover.
First U. S. Edition.
When Adolf Eichmann was brought to Jerusalem in 1961 to stand trial for war crimes, the eyes of the world were on the courtroom. The drama of his kidnapping, the bigger controversies over jurisdiction, the scope and solemnity of the trial, its passionate undercurrents, racial and political -- captured the world’s collective imagination. As the trial unfolded, excitement turned to bewilderment. What were the issues? For what was Eichmann being tried? Under what law? By what precedent?
Dr. Arendt draws from her personal experience in pre-war Germany, her experience as a political theorist, and her studies of the Nuremberg trails and the Successor trials to isolate the point of international law and human justice raised in the case. She contended that Eichmann was neither psychopathic nor particularly antisemitic, but that this didn’t absolve him of guilt or responsibility. He was an exemplar of the “banality of evil.” She concludes: “We are concerned here only with what you did, and not with the possible noncriminal nature of your inner life and of your motives or with the criminal potentialities of those around you. You told your story in terms of a hard-luck story, and, knowing the circumstances, we are, up to a point, willing to grant you that under more favorable circumstances it is highly unlikely that you would ever have come before us or before any other criminal court. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that it was nothing more than misfortune that made you a willing instrument in the organization of mass murder; there still remains the fact that you have carried out, and therefore actively support, a policy of mass murder. For politics is not like the nursery; in politics obedience and support are the same. And just as you support and carried out a policy of not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people and the people of a number of other nations – as though you and your superiors had any right to determine who should and who should not inhabit the world – we find that no one, that is, no member of the human race, can be expected to want to share the earth with you. This is the reason, and the only reason, you must hang.”Item #900920
Octavo, 5-3/4 x 8-1/2”, beige cloth with red/black detailing, 275pp, black top-edge, epilogue, acknowledgements, sources, bibliography, index.
Previous owner’s name and place first free endpaper, else fine in very good dust wrapper with toning and a bit of edge-wear, including archival tape-repaired chip bottom corner front panel at flap fold, in protective mylar.