Read another response by Oliver Leaman
Read another response about War
Commentators on the Holocaust often refer to the oft cited justification "just following orders" as a paltry excuse. But given that "just following orders" can often mean that a person must choose to follow orders or face legal consequences or death isn't that a pretty good excuse? We generally don't judge a person who is acting under duress in the same way as someone who isn't. Maybe when commentators reference this phrase they are only citing the most egregious cases where it was used, but I can't help but feel that these commentators are glossing over the moral complexity involved in cases where a person is said to be "following orders".