Hannah Arendt (1906–1975)

German American political theorist and philosopher. Born in Hanover, Germany, and educated at the University of Heidelberg, Arendt began her academic career in Germany but was forced to flee when Hitler came to power. Arriving in the United States in 1940, she became chief editor for a major publisher and a frequent lecturer on college campuses. Arendt taught at a number of American colleges and universities, finishing her career at the New School for Social Research in New York City. She published over a dozen books, including The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), The Human Condition (1958), and On Revolution (1965). In Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963) Arendt coined the famous phrase “the banality of evil” to suggest how moral responsibility extends to those who, like Adolf Eichmann, insist that they are only “following orders,” as well as those who passively stand by while evil is perpetrated. See also plato.stanford.edu/entries/arendt.