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"Faces Of The Enemy" Essay

1162 words - 5 pages

"Faces of the Enemy" follows a psychologist Sam Keen as he unmasks how individuals and nations dehumanize their enemies to justify the inhumanity of war. In Sam Keen's documentary "Faces of the Enemy" he comes up with documentation that goes in the mind of the enemy and finds out why we have enemies, and why we dehumanize these enemies. The film discussed the sociological, psychological and political aspects of war as well as the strategies we use to dehumanize the enemy. The film also includes examples of propaganda-filled films and posters that were used during World War II and the Cold War. Recently, extremist groups in the U.S. have used aspects of these wartime tactics to disseminate their agendas. Keen wanted to figure out why individuals are enemies, so he looks into the mind of a murderer by the name of David Rice. He killed an innocent family and characterized them as his enemy because they were a suspected communist family. Rice saw himself as a soldier in a war against inhuman enemies and the only way to get rid of his enemy was to eliminate his enemy. Enemies come in many shapes and sizes but Rice's enemy was quite different. Rice's influence of propaganda led him into a world of no return. He killed an entire family that were innocent and normal people, but were faced with a horrible death.The film had a way of keeping the attention of the viewer by showing how one nation would totally dehumanize another nation with war propaganda. All of it would say how we are good, and they are evil, or we are the victims and they are the ones to blame. In one of the US Army films the message they say "Let's see what kind of people these Japanese really are. First, examine a typical Jap soldier. He and his brother are as much alike as photographic prints off the same negative." In every war each enemy is seen as less than human, and as a monster. But the propaganda that is being drilled into the solders head is what drives them to achieve victory. A solders image of their enemy is their most powerful tool, next to his weapon. Its not like the US was alone, during World War 2 cartoons from Germany, Japan, and the US showed how alike many of the countries were in depicting their enemies as rats and snakes. Sam Keen said "Before we make war, even before we make weapons, we first create the idea of an enemy whom we can fight." He talks with psychologists about how such techniques of ''dehumanization'' are used by governments during war to provoke the citizens to join the military and do the bidding of the said government by going out and killing.In the course of describing the propaganda during World War II, Dr. Keen noticed that every country warned their people that in case of an invasion, the people would suffer a slaughter from their monstrous enemy. The Japanese and the Germans committed many violent acts in the countries they invaded. While the invasions at the end of the war by the allied forces led to a greater freedom for the German and...

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