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This course is a history of National-Socialist Germany based to a considerable extent on primary documents. Students will use the documents to reconstruct the history of the Third Reich and to articulate and assess some of the principal historiographical debates relating to National-Socialist Germany. The course will consider the following topics: the failure of the Weimar Republic and the rise of National Socialism; the consolidation of Nazi rule; the experiential reality of the Volksgemeinschaft; the popularity of National Socialism; youth and women in the Third Reich; Nazi culture; Nazi racism and image of the Jew; Gestapo terror; the pre-war persecution of Jews; popular German anti-Semitism; the regime’s euthanasia program; the Nazi Empire; the experience of war in Russia; the implementation of the “Final Solution to the Jewish Problem”; German knowledge of and complicity in the “Final Solution”; the experience of “total war” on the home front; resistance to National Socialism; and the collapse of the Third Reich. The course will focus especially on how ordinary Germans experienced and participated in the history through which they lived. We will take an empathic approach to National-Socialist Germany and to the Germans who lived through this period, attempting to understand why they felt, thought, and acted as they did. We will also consider the epistemological and ethical problems involved in attempting to empathize with Nazis.
Format: lecture; discussion
Grading: no pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
active and effective participation in class discussion, two 5-page analytic essays on two of the topics considered in the course, and a final 7-page interpretative essay: the two analytic essays on an assigned course topic (50%); the final interpretative essay (30%); class participation (20%)
none; open to all
HIST Group C Electives - Europe and Russia