Syllabus recap

Posted onMarch 31, 2009 
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Germany 1918–1939

Principal focus: Students investigate the key features and issues of the history of Germany 1918–1939.

Key features and issues:
•    successes and failures of democracy
•    nature and role of nationalism
•    influence of the German army
•    nature and influence of racism
•    changes in society
•    the nature and impact of Nazism
•    aims and impact of Nazi foreign policy

Students learn about:

1    Weimar Republic
–    emergence of the Democratic Republic and the impact of the Treaty of Versailles
–    political, economic and social issues in the Weimar Republic to 1929
–    collapse of the Weimar Republic 1929–1933
–    impact of the Great Depression on Germany

2    The rise of the Nazi Party
–    rise of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) from 1923
–    Hitler’s accession to power
–    initial consolidation of Nazi power 1933–1934

3    Nazism in power
–    Hitler’s role in the Nazi state
–    Nazism as totalitarianism
–    the role of propaganda, terror and repression; SA and SS; opposition to Nazism
–    social and cultural life in the Nazi state: role of Hitler Youth, women, religion
–    Nazi racial policy; anti-Semitism: policy and practice to 1939

4    Nazi foreign policy
–    nature of Nazi foreign policy: aims and strategies to September 1939
–    impact of ideology on Nazi foreign policy to September 1939

Key figures in the Nazi Party – 1920s

Posted onMarch 8, 2009 
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Nazi Party poster, 1920s: The strong arm of the Nazi party gripping the snake that threatens to poison Germany. The snake stands both for “Marxism” and “High Finance” – an apparent contradiction but a typical argument in Nazi propaganda. The alternative to both capitalism and communism was to be the racially ordered state based on the “Fuehrer principle.”

Research the following figures who were prominent in the early years of the Nazi party.

Provide a brief biography and answer:
What is the significance of each figure?
How did they influenced Hitler and the development of Nazi ideology?

  1. Anton Drexler
  2. Gottfried Feder
  3. Dietrich Eckart
  4. Gregor Strasser
  5. R. Walter Darre
  6. Alfred Rosenberg

Weimar Culture presos

Posted onMarch 3, 2009 
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Cultural Achievements in Weimar Germany

Posted onFebruary 24, 2009 
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Rudolph Schichter’s depiction of cafe society

During the years of the Weimar Republic, Berlin, in particular, became a thriving centre of many new art movements. Artists were highly critical and used satire to attack the evils of post-war Weimar German society exposing the devastating effects of World War I and the consequent economic climate upon individuals. The Bauhaus school near Weimar, revolutionized architecture, and the theatres in Berlin and Frankfurt led the way internationally in the types of plays that were performed. Thomas and Heinrich Mann and Bertolt Brecht were world famous writers. Philosophy also flourished. Great film companies made German cinema one of the most notable in the world. Fritz Lang’s work was regarded as pioneering at the time. Leading composers of music taught and heard their works first performed in Weimar Germany. Cabaret became very popular and the singer Marlene Dietrich’s became world famous.

In the academic world, the Weimar Republic “inherited” excellent universities and science centres from the Wilhelmine period.  Göttingen was the world’s most famous centre for physics, and German was the international language in physics and chemistry. Albert Einstein lived and taught in Berlin.
Not everyone was happy with the new cultural freedom in Weimar. To the right, Weimar Culture confirmed the image of a hedonistic, amoral, and degenerate society. The fact that many leading artists
associated with the Communist Party (which was fashionable in intellectual circles all over Europe) and the strong representation of Jews in the new artistic movements increased this hostility.
When the Nazis came to power most of the leading figures of Weimar culture had to emigrate. A mass exodus of academics, physicists, film directors, and writers took place and many went to the United States, which inherited Weimar culture. 20 Nobel prize winners left and over 2000 people involved in the arts.

Sources: http://www.johndclare.net/Weimar1_Tonge.htm

http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/michaelwalford/entry/from_expressionism_to/

Otto Dix

Otto Dix was one of Weimar
Germany’s most important artists, ruthlessly depicting both bourgeois
society and the seedy underclass. The seedy underworld of Berlin in the 1920s
may have been brought to the big screen with the Oscar-winning movie
“Cabaret,” but the blueprint for its depiction of Weimar Germany’s
red-light underbelly was first created by German painter Otto Dix. His
merciless pictures depicted war, bourgeois society and the bleaker side
of urban life, including sexual violence and prostitution. Dix’s
experiences in World War I made him a ruthless realist. But he was best
known for his impressionist portraits, which attempted to get under the
skin of the sitter rather than merely reproduce an exact likeness.

He
was influenced by Dada and became a leading member of the Neue
Sachlichkeit, or New Objectivity movement, along with Georg Grosz and
Max Beckmann. Predictably, his scathing and often grotesque art
did not appeal to the Nazis. When they came to power in 1933, Dix was
labelled a “degenerate” artist and lost his teaching job.

The years of hope: 1924-29

Posted onFebruary 24, 2009 
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The Ruhr Crisis 1923

Posted onFebruary 19, 2009 
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A German poster urges passive resistance
during the Ruhr crisis, under the motto
“No! You won’t subdue me!”

World War I had left Germany with many economic, social, and political problems. In addition to enduring high inflation and a large national debt, Germans were deeply angered by the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles, signed in June 1919, which formally ended the war. The treaty called for German disarmament and massive reparation payments to the Allies of $33 billion. Unable to meet the payments, Germany’s currency collapsed and the German people suffered large financial losses. In January 1923, French and Belgian forces occupied Germany’s main industrial region, the Ruhr, claiming that Germany had stopped making reparation deliveries. German workers were encouraged to strike in protest at the French and Belgian occupation. The result was a period of hyperinflation when the German mark became worthless. Many Germans were desperate by 1923 and were ready to support extremists such as the Nazis or the Communists.

Source A

The cities were still there, the houses not yet bombed and in ruins, but the victims were millions of people. They had lost their fortunes, their savings; they were dazed and inflation-shocked and did not understand how it had happened to them and who the foe was who had defeated them. Yet they had lost their self-assurance, their feeling that they themselves could be the masters of their own lives if only they worked hard enough; and lost, too, were the old values of morals, of ethics, of decency.

American author Pearl Buck on the effects of hyperinflation in Germany in 1923

How useful is this source to an historian studying the effects of the 1923 hyperinflation on the fortunes of the Weimar Republic?
(Evaluation: what does it tell you, what doesn’t it tell you. Does the origin affect usefulness? Are there any limitations? In what ways could this source be useful?)

The Weimar Republic 1919-1933

Posted onFebruary 19, 2009 
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The Weimar Republic is the term used to describe the German democratic republic that lasted from 1919 until 1933. The republic was established after workers and troops revolted in early 1918 against the government’s refusal to end the First World War. On November 9, Kaiser Wilhelm II fled the country and a provisional (temporary) government was formed by Friedrich Ebert, leader of the Social Democrats. The new parliament met in Weimar, in February 1919 and drew up a constitution that established Germany as a democracy. There were two houses of parliament, the Reichstag and the Reichsrat. Ebert was elected first president of the new republic.

Although the Weimar Republic was democratic it was weak and unpopular with many Germans. The Weimar Republic had too many political parties and weak coalitions did not seem to last long. It was blamed for surrendering to the Allies in 1918 and was associated with defeat by many who believed that Germany should have continued to fight after November 1918. Political extremists such as the Communists (left wing e.g. Spartacists, in 1919) and the Nationalists (right wing e.g. the Kapp Putsch, 1920 and Beer Hall Putsch, 1923) tried to seize power from the Weimar Republic. The Weimar Republic had to deal with severe economic problems in 1923 during the Ruhr Crisis and after the Wall St. Crash of 1929.

Germany Syllabus

Posted onFebruary 19, 2009 
Filed under Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Germany 1918–1939

Principal focus: Students investigate the key features and issues of the history of Germany 1918–1939.

Key features and issues:
•    successes and failures of democracy
•    nature and role of nationalism
•    influence of the German army
•    nature and influence of racism
•    changes in society
•    the nature and impact of Nazism
•    aims and impact of Nazi foreign policy

Students learn about:

1    Weimar Republic
–    emergence of the Democratic Republic and the impact of the Treaty of Versailles
–    political, economic and social issues in the Weimar Republic to 1929
–    collapse of the Weimar Republic 1929–1933
–    impact of the Great Depression on Germany

2    The rise of the Nazi Party
–    rise of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) from 1923
–    Hitler’s accession to power
–    initial consolidation of Nazi power 1933–1934

3    Nazism in power
–    Hitler’s role in the Nazi state
–    Nazism as totalitarianism
–    the role of propaganda, terror and repression; SA and SS; opposition to Nazism
–    social and cultural life in the Nazi state: role of Hitler Youth, women, religion
–    Nazi racial policy; anti-Semitism: policy and practice to 1939

4    Nazi foreign policy
–    nature of Nazi foreign policy: aims and strategies to September 1939
–    impact of ideology on Nazi foreign policy to September 1939

The Origins of World War One

Posted onOctober 28, 2008 
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The Origins of World War One

By Dr Gary Sheffield

Was World War One a triumph of democracy over imperial expansion or
an exercise in military futility? Dr Gary Sheffield examines the
origins of the conflict. Follow this link to the article and answer the following questions.

Definitions:
Hegemony: leadership or dominance, especially by one country or social group over others.
Ideology: set of beliefs and goals of a social or political group that explain or justify the group’s decisions and behaviour.

Questions:
According to some historians, which country was responsible for planning and waging a “war of deliberate aggression”?

What was the name of the two “armed camps” Europe was divided into in 1914?

Which countries belonged to each “camp”?

List the ways in which Germany adopted a more “aggressive stance” under Kaiser Wilhelm II?

Which two countries did Britain reach agreement with? Why?

Who was assassinated on June 28, 1914?
Who assassinated him and why?

Which country did Austria-Hungary believe was behind the assassination?

What was the so-called “blank cheque” that the Germans offered Austria-Hungary?

Why do some historians believe that Germany was planning war prior to 1914?

Describe Germany’s war  aims.

According to Sheffield, why did Britain go to war? Is this a reasonable assessment? Why? Why not?

Why did France go to war?

“We are not used to seeing World War One as an ideological struggle, a battle between democracy and autocracy. Yet that is in many respects exactly what it was.”
Is this correct? Provide reasons for your answer.

Following World War One, which ideology became the largest rival to democracy?

Image: http://www.chemical-corps.org/history/images/GasAttack-%20WWI%20(538×406).jpg

Historical research – the process

Posted onApril 29, 2008 
Filed under Terrorism | 1 Comment

The image “http://www.tcnj.edu/~goldschm/technical_writing-1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Historical investigation: Step 1

Brainstorm areas of interest. Choose terrorist group or incident to investigate.

Historical investigation: Step 2
Address the questions:
• What information do I need?
• How will I locate this information?
• How relevant will the information be to the topic and its presentation?
Skills:
• Locating sources of information and validate sources by accessing multiple sources
• Refine information sources and, if necessary, redefine the topic area.
Historical investigation: Step 3
• make important decisions about what information to include, how it applies to your topic and how it will be demonstrated in your presentation
• refine and redefine the parameters and direction your inquiries take in the knowledge building process.
Historical investigation: Step 4: Reflection
• think about how you would do this differently next time
• reflect on what learning is transferable
• evaluate the effectiveness of the working partnership

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