History Main / JustFollowingOrders

23rd Sep '16 2:29:41 PM troodos
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[[folder:Music]]
* ''Trail of Tears'' by Heather Dale is from the point of view of a soldier ordered to aid in said forced relocation. He's obviously uncomfortable with it, but is too afraid to say anything after another soldier is shot for standing up to the commanding officer.
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2nd Sep '16 1:51:57 PM Morgenthaler
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* ''Film/BreakerMorant'' is about Lieutenant Harry "Breaker" Morant and two fellow officers of Britain's Bushveldt Carbineers facing court-martial for killing Boer prisoners of war (and one German missionary believed to be covertly helping the Boers) without fair trials. Both the prosecution and defense fully acknowledge that said killings took place, but the issue determining the guilt of the Carbineers is whether the acts were committed because of an informal order from higher up to do so (in order to adapt in the face of a brutal guerrilla war, and also because they felt the prisoners couldn't be adequately fed alongside British soldiers) or if Morant ordered the killings purely out of {{Revenge}} for the death and mutilation of a good friend and fellow officer. Complicating matters is that the three are being indirectly tried by the people who ''gave'' the informal order -- Lord Kitchener and his military circle want to dispose of Morant and company as scapegoats for the killings rather than own up to giving the order so that Britain can avoid incurring the wrath of ImperialGermany (both because of the German missionary and because Germany sympathized with the Boer cause) and cool any simmering tensions with the Boers so a peace treaty can be made.

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* ''Film/BreakerMorant'' is about Lieutenant Harry "Breaker" Morant and two fellow officers of Britain's Bushveldt Carbineers facing court-martial for killing Boer prisoners of war (and one German missionary believed to be covertly helping the Boers) without fair trials. Both the prosecution and defense fully acknowledge that said killings took place, but the issue determining the guilt of the Carbineers is whether the acts were committed because of an informal order from higher up to do so (in order to adapt in the face of a brutal guerrilla war, and also because they felt the prisoners couldn't be adequately fed alongside British soldiers) or if Morant ordered the killings purely out of {{Revenge}} for the death and mutilation of a good friend and fellow officer. Complicating matters is that the three are being indirectly tried by the people who ''gave'' the informal order -- Lord Kitchener and his military circle want to dispose of Morant and company as scapegoats for the killings rather than own up to giving the order so that Britain can avoid incurring the wrath of ImperialGermany UsefulNotes/ImperialGermany (both because of the German missionary and because Germany sympathized with the Boer cause) and cool any simmering tensions with the Boers so a peace treaty can be made.
27th Aug '16 8:45:40 PM kquinn0830
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* ''Film/AFewGoodMen'': Lt. Dan Caffey (Creator/TomCruise) proposes using this as the basis for his court defense of the two Marines charged with murdering Willie Santiago; they were ordered by superior officers to discipline Santiago, and their "Code Red" just got out of hand. Caffey's partner retorts that that line of defense didn't work at Nuremberg and it didn't work at [[VietnamWar My Lai]] and it's not going to work now. The argument gets a lot more heated from that point on, with Caffey shouting [[ShutUpHannibal "These guys aren't the Nazis!"]]

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* ''Film/AFewGoodMen'': Lt. Dan Caffey Kaffee (Creator/TomCruise) proposes using this as the basis for his court defense of the two Marines charged with murdering Willie Santiago; they were ordered by superior officers to discipline Santiago, and their "Code Red" just got out of hand. Caffey's Kaffee's partner retorts that that line of defense didn't work at Nuremberg and it didn't work at [[VietnamWar My Lai]] and it's not going to work now. The argument gets a lot more heated from Kaffee fires back that point on, the difference with Caffey shouting [[ShutUpHannibal "These guys aren't the Nazis!"]]Marines is that they were just carrying out a routine order they didn't think would result in any physical harm.
24th Aug '16 1:53:06 AM Morgenthaler
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* According to one tale, a sick [[NepaliWithNastyKnives Gurkha]] was lying on a hospital bed, dying, so a British officer walked up to him and sternly told him 'don't die'. At that, the Gurkha recovered. After all, Gurkhas follow orders.

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* According to one tale, a sick [[NepaliWithNastyKnives [[UsefulNotes/NepaliWithNastyKnives Gurkha]] was lying on a hospital bed, dying, so a British officer walked up to him and sternly told him 'don't die'. At that, the Gurkha recovered. After all, Gurkhas follow orders.
21st Aug '16 10:25:41 AM nombretomado
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* In ''{{Juathuur}}'', this is the main source of conflict between Sojueilo (who follows orders) and Thomil (who doesn't).
* Gen. William Howe of ''TheDreamer''.

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* In ''{{Juathuur}}'', ''Webcomic/{{Juathuur}}'', this is the main source of conflict between Sojueilo (who follows orders) and Thomil (who doesn't).
* Gen. William Howe of ''TheDreamer''.''Webcomic/TheDreamer''.
17th Aug '16 5:01:27 AM Morgenthaler
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* Bothari in VorkosiganSaga is a special example. He is so mentally ill that he can barely do anything else and it takes all his courage just to abstain from raping Cordelia at the command of a sadist. Bothari knows this and thus clings to the Vorkosigans because he thinks he can trust them to give good orders and that is the best he can do. He doesn't think following orders takes away responsibility so much as thinking he barely do anything else so he better find a ReasonableAuthorityFigure if he wants to be human.

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* Bothari in VorkosiganSaga ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'' is a special example. He is so mentally ill that he can barely do anything else and it takes all his courage just to abstain from raping Cordelia at the command of a sadist. Bothari knows this and thus clings to the Vorkosigans because he thinks he can trust them to give good orders and that is the best he can do. He doesn't think following orders takes away responsibility so much as thinking he barely do anything else so he better find a ReasonableAuthorityFigure if he wants to be human.
16th Aug '16 1:24:06 PM hubakon1368
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* In [[http://archiveofourown.org/works/6461902 this rewrite]] of Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron, [[ComicBook/{{Ultron}} Ultron]] justifies his actions of trying to cause [[KillAllHumans the extinction of the human race]] as just following the orders of his master, ComicBook/{{Thanos}}.
17th Jul '16 9:06:11 AM azul120
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Accordingly JustFollowingOrders is the StockPhrase motto/mantra/defense of the PunchClockVillain, as well as most bureaucrats ([[ObstructiveBureaucrat obstructive]] or otherwise), {{Mooks}}, and just about anyone during failures of nerve, job security, heroic fortitude...

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Accordingly JustFollowingOrders Just Following Orders is the StockPhrase motto/mantra/defense of the PunchClockVillain, as well as most bureaucrats ([[ObstructiveBureaucrat obstructive]] or otherwise), {{Mooks}}, and just about anyone during failures of nerve, job security, heroic fortitude...



* For a book which became notorious for discussing the "banality of evil", Hannah Arendt's ''Eichmann In Jerusalem'' is in fact a thorough and detailed takedown of the mentality of JustFollowingOrders. She notes that regardless of Eichmann's lack of DevilInPlainSight behaviour and his insistence that he was following orders, this is still not an excuse and that people have a moral obligation and can be tried for failing to pass on it, even in the most exceptionally difficult circumstances.

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* For a book which became notorious for discussing the "banality of evil", Hannah Arendt's ''Eichmann In Jerusalem'' is in fact a thorough and detailed takedown of the mentality of JustFollowingOrders.Just Following Orders. She notes that regardless of Eichmann's lack of DevilInPlainSight behaviour and his insistence that he was following orders, this is still not an excuse and that people have a moral obligation and can be tried for failing to pass on it, even in the most exceptionally difficult circumstances.



* Creator/JohnOliver never comes out and says the exact words, but this is the heart of he defense of the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn_Zln_4pA8 IRS]] on ''Series/LastWeekTonightWithJohnOliver'': everyone hates the IntimidatingRevenueService for being {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s who [[TaxmanTakesTheWinnings take everyone's money]], but he sees them as an underfunded, understaffed, overworked group of ''[[BeleagueredBureaucrat Beleaguered]]'' [[BeleagueredBureaucrat Bureaucrats]] who are JustFollowingOrders - and not orders from their superiors in the IRS, but [[ShootTheMessenger orders given to them]] by ''Congress''; orders that they are constantly '''[[MovingTheGoalposts changing]].''' It still makes for an interesting examination of the trope; though Oliver decries calling the IRS "Gestapo", one can see the similarity; most of the people who made the Nazi regime work were overworked bureaucrats. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_during_World_War_II IBM even sold them the computers they used.]]

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* Creator/JohnOliver never comes out and says the exact words, but this is the heart of he defense of the [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn_Zln_4pA8 IRS]] on ''Series/LastWeekTonightWithJohnOliver'': everyone hates the IntimidatingRevenueService for being {{Obstructive Bureaucrat}}s who [[TaxmanTakesTheWinnings take everyone's money]], but he sees them as an underfunded, understaffed, overworked group of ''[[BeleagueredBureaucrat Beleaguered]]'' [[BeleagueredBureaucrat Bureaucrats]] who are JustFollowingOrders Just Following Orders - and not orders from their superiors in the IRS, but [[ShootTheMessenger orders given to them]] by ''Congress''; orders that they are constantly '''[[MovingTheGoalposts changing]].''' It still makes for an interesting examination of the trope; though Oliver decries calling the IRS "Gestapo", one can see the similarity; most of the people who made the Nazi regime work were overworked bureaucrats. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_during_World_War_II IBM even sold them the computers they used.]]
13th Jul '16 2:48:46 PM CrowTR0bot
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* Many of the torturers in the Hanoi Hotel were brainwashed teenage boys whose families were being held hostage by Pol Pot. They were told to either follow orders or they and their whole families would have the same fate as the prisoners. In later interviews, this trope is their justification, saying that they too were prisoners. It falls apart when one of the few survivors confronts his captor.

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* Many of the torturers in the Hanoi Hotel S-21 prison were brainwashed teenage boys whose families were being held hostage by Pol Pot. They were told to either follow orders or they and their whole families would have the same fate as the prisoners. In later interviews, this trope is their justification, saying that they too were prisoners. It falls apart when one of the few survivors confronts his captor.
30th May '16 1:05:01 PM Vilui
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** As it happens, UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler ''hated'' giving orders and liked to keep them as vague as possible, leading to what historian Ian Kershaw called "working towards the Fuhrer", i.e. doing what you ''think'' Hitler wants, which as it happens was usually just anything that made the problem go away. A common problem, even in the early days of the regime, was that the [=SA=], the [=SS=] and the more ideological members of the Party and the army would assault or kill more people than the leaders intended and had to be reined in (this was one of the reasons the [=SA=] was purged on the Night of the Long Knives, as they were considered too unruly compared to the "disciplined" [=SS=]). The initial plan for the occupation of Poland- then Eastern Europe- was to kill a certain % of various Polish social groups (e.g. Jews, academics, officers, lawyers etc.) and have the rest either deported or kept as slave labour (and/or held as hostages) while their land would be given to "ethnic" Germans, but the [=SS=] and sections of the German army ended up killing so much that even ''Himmler'' protested to Hitler (albeit on the grounds that it showed a lack of discipline). Eventually, for many, committing genocide simply became ''normal''.

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** As it happens, UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler ''hated'' giving orders and liked to keep them as vague as possible, leading to what historian Ian Kershaw called "working towards the Fuhrer", i.e. doing what you ''think'' Hitler wants, which as it happens was usually just anything that made the problem go away. A common problem, even in the early days of the regime, was that the [=SA=], the [=SS=] and the more ideological members of the Party and the army would assault or kill more people than the leaders intended and had to be reined in (this was one of the reasons the [=SA=] was purged on the Night of the Long Knives, as they were considered too unruly compared to the "disciplined" [=SS=]). The initial plan for the occupation of Poland- Poland -- then Eastern Europe- Europe -- was to kill a certain % percentage of various Polish social groups (e.g. Jews, academics, officers, lawyers etc.) and have the rest either deported or kept as slave labour (and/or held as hostages) while their land would be given to "ethnic" Germans, but the [=SS=] and sections of the German army ended up killing so much that even ''Himmler'' protested to Hitler (albeit on the grounds that it showed a lack of discipline). Eventually, for many, committing genocide simply became ''normal''.
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