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The International School for Holocaust Studies

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Germany 1918-1943 – Course Syllabus

“At the Edge of the Abyss – The Holocaust of European Jewry"

This course section traces the history of Germany following World War I through to the official liquidation of German Jewry in 1943. Students will gain an in-depth knowledge of the political and social situation in Germany during the crucial years following World War I, including Hitler’s ascent to power, the establishment of the totalitarian state, and the development of race laws. We will learn about the Nazi policies that paved the way for genocide, through primary documents and first-hand accounts.

As with all our online courses, assignments may be submitted at your own pace. Once you are approved onto the course system, participation will remain open for a period of 6 months, after which your course access will expire. We recommend reading the material and submitting the assignments at a rate of one lesson or more every two weeks.

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This online course is one of 5 courses comprising “At the Edge of the Abyss – The Holocaust of European Jewry".

Lesson one:
Democracy in Crisis – Germany 1918-1933
This lesson introduces the social, political and economic situation of Germany under the Weimar Republic.
Eberhard Kolb, “Disintegration of the Political System,” The Weimar Republic, London, 1988, pp. 110-126.
Further reading:
Gordon A. Craig, “The End of Weimar,” Germany 1866-1945, Oxford, 1978, pp. 534-568.

Lesson two:
The Nazi [National Socialist] Party, 1919-1933
In this lesson, students will learn about the development and success of the Nazi party in Germany.
Daniel Fraenkel, “The Nazi Rise to Power and the Nature of the Nazi Regime,” Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Robert Rozett, Shmuel Spector (Eds.), Yad Vashem, Facts On File, Jerusalem, New York, pp, 31-44.
Further reading:
Karl Dietrich Bracher, The German Dictatorship, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1970, pp. 57-67, 79-91, 108-122, 142-152, 160-178.

Lesson three:
Consolidating the Totalitarian State
Students will gain an understanding in the development and ideology of a totalitarian state and its implementation in Germany during this period.
William Sheridan Allen, The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town, 1930—1935, Quadrangle, Chicago 1965, pp. 173-191.
Further Reading:
Gordon A. Craig, “Gleichschaltung”, Germany 1866-1945, Clarendon Press, Oxford, pp. 578-590.

Lesson four:
Nazi Germany 1933-1938 – The Individual in the Totalitarian State
This lesson explores the role of the individual within the totalitarian state – assessing individuals, organizations and professionals, within the framework of Nazi ideology.
Benjamin Sax and Dieter Kuntz (eds.), Inside Hitler’s Germany, Heath and Company, Lexington, MA, Toronto, 1992, pp. 253-255, 303-308.
Further Reading:
Karl Dietrich Bracher, The German Dictatorship, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1970, pp. 247-272, 350-362.

Lesson five:
The Battle for Art and Culture in Nazi Germany
Lesson Five focuses on the use, control, and censorship of art and culture in the Third Reich.

Lesson six:
German Foreign Policy 1933 – 1938
Lesson Five takes an analytical look into Nazi foreign policy and its centrality within German society. Students will engage with various sources, providing a multiplicity of angles from which Nazi foreign policy functioned.
Richard J. Evans, The Third Reich in Power, Penguin Press, New York 2005, The Road to War, pp. 623-637.
Further Reading:
Gerhard L. Weinberg, Hitler's Foreign Policy 1933-1939, Enigma Books, New York, 2005: Chapter 7: German Rearmament, Withdrawal from the League, and Relations with Britain and France, pp.167-186; Chapter 10: The Remilitarization of the Rhineland, pp. 240-262.

Lesson seven:
Antisemitism and Nazi Ideology
This lesson traces antisemitism in Germany, beginning with traditional forms of hatred against Jews and continuing into the twentieth century.
Walter Zvi Bacharach, “Antisemitism and Racism in Nazi Ideology,” Michael Berenbaum (Ed.), The Holocaust and History: The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed, and the Reexamined, Bloomington, IN, Indiana University Press, 1998, pp. 64-74.
Further Reading:
Saul Friedlander, “Redemptive Anti-Semitism,” Nazi Germany and the Jews, Volume 1, The Years of Persecution, Harper Collins Publishers, New York 1997, pp. 73-112.

Lesson eight:
Germany 1933-1938: Anti-Jewish Policies and the Responses of German Jews
In this lesson assesses anti-Jewish policies and actions formulated and implemented by the German government. It pays particular attention to the responses of German Jews to these new restrictions.
Saul Friedlander, Nazi Germany and the Jews, Vol. I, Harper Collins, New York, 1997, Chapter 5, Sections IV-VI, pp. 162-173.
Further Reading:

  1. Joseph Walk, “Reactions of the Jewish Press in Germany to the Nuremberg Laws,” in: David Bankier (Editor), Probing the Depth of German Anti-Semitism, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem 2000, pp. 329-338.
  2. Wolfgang Benz, “Exclusion as a Stage in Persecution. The Jewish Situation in Germany, 1933-1941,”, in: David Bankier, Israel Gutman (Editors), Nazi Europe and the Final Solution, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem 2003, pp. 40-53.

Lesson nine:
1938 – The Fateful Year
This lesson explores the events of 1938 as a major turning point in the history of the Third Reich. Students will be presented with a series of historical events which shaped the history of the Third Reich, Europe, as well as the international arena.
David Bankier, “1938: Foreign Policy, Political Radicalization and Antisemitism,” In the Path of Remembrance (Hebrew), No. 30, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1998, pp. 4-7.
Further Reading:
Saul Friedlander, “The Onslaught,” Nazi Germany and the Jews, Vol I., The Years of Persecution, Harper Collins Publishers, New York 1997, pp. 269-305.

Lesson ten:
Kristallnacht - November 9-10, 1938
In this lesson we focus on the of November 9-10, 1938, in Germany, a turning point in Germany's escalating anti-Jewish crusade.

Lesson eleven:
The Jews of Germany 1939-1943
This lesson explores the experience of the German Jewish community after the outbreak of World War II.
Michael Meyer (Editor), Avraham Barkai, Paul Mendes-Flohr, “In a Ghetto Without Walls”, German-Jewish History in Modern Times, Vol. 4: Renewal and Destruction, Columbia University Press, New York 1998, pp. 333-346.
Further Reading:
Avraham Barkai, “The Last Chapter”, From Boycott to Annihilation: The Economic Struggle of German Jews 1933-1943, University Press of New England, 1989, pp. 152-187.

Lesson twelve:
The Racial State: Persecution of Non-Jews in Nazi Germany
In this lesson, students will examine the policies and persecution of non-Jews in Nazi Germany.
Guenther Grau, “Final Solution of the Homosexual Question?” Michael Berenbaum (ed.), The Holocaust and History: The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed, and the Reexamined, Bloomington, IN, Indiana University Press, 1998, pp. 338-344.
Additional Reading:
Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wippermann, ““The Purification” of the Body of the Nation,” The Racial State: Germany 1933-1945, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1991, pp. 113-199.

With the generous support of:
Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany
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