SOCS 639
Inside Nazi Germany, 1933-1945

Erik Grimmer-Solem

Course Description

This course analyzes the processes that led to Hitler’s rise to power, the nature of the National Socialist regime, and the origins and implementation of its policies of aggression and genocide that culminated in the Holocaust. The course will carefully analyze the racial, eugenic and geopolitical ideology of National Socialism and the policies of discrimination, conquest, economic exploitation and extermination that followed from it. At the same time, the role of structural factors in explaining these outcomes will also be explored in great depth from the perspective of everyday life. We will analyze how German society was shaped by Nazism, considering conformity and opposition in the lives of ordinary people in both peacetime and war. The course seeks to impart an awareness of the complex of factors that produced a regime of unprecedented destructiveness and it aims to develop a critical understanding of the ongoing problems of interpretation that accompany its history.

Course Requirements

Midterm paper of 8-10 pages (50%)
Final paper of 8-10 pages (50%) 

Both papers will be essay assignments that will allow you to choose from a number of questions treating different aspects of the material covered in the first and second half of the semester, respectively. These essays must demonstrate a critical mastery of the assigned readings and a good command of the key points made from the additional material I will introduce in class. This supplemental material will include such things as key government documents, election posters, film and print propaganda, maps, photographs, as well as the oral and written recollections of Germans from many walks of life will be introduced and discussed in class. In order to be able to engage with this material in an informed and productive manner, it is important that students come to class having completed all of the required reading for each session.

In making references in your papers, please use footnotes following the Chicago notes/bibliography style outlined in the Chicago Manual of Style (14th or15th edition). These citation conventions are usefully summarized in Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations,7th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007, chs. 15-16. Please use a font no smaller than 12 points and provide generous right and left margins (1 ¼ inches minimum) and at least 1 inch top and bottom margins on your papers. For your convenience, papers may be submitted to me as e-mail attachments but must arrive in my inbox on or before the day and time outlined on the syllabus. Papers received late will be penalized 1/3 of a grade for each day late (i.e., from A to A-, then A- to B+, etc.). If you do better on one of the exams than on the other, the better of the two will count for more in determining your final grade.

Required Texts

William Sheridan Allen, The Nazi Seizure of Power: The Experience of a Single German Town 1922-1945, rev. ed.(New York: Franklin Watts, 1984). ISBN 0531056333.  

Omer Bartov, ed., The Holocaust: Origins, Implementation, Aftermath (London and New York: Routledge, 2000). ISBN 0415150361 

Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich: A New History (New York: Hill and Wang, 2000). ISBN  080909326X 

Eric A. Johnson, Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews and Ordinary Germans (New York: Basic Books, 2000). ISBN 0465049087

Detlev J. K. Peukert, Inside Nazi Germany: Conformity, Opposition and Racism in Everyday Life, trans. Richard Deveson (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1982). ISBN 0300044801 

The textbooks will be available for purchase from the University Bookstore, 45 Broad Street, Middletown. Please call to assure the texts are in stock: 860-685-7323.  For your convenience, I have supplied the ISBN numbers if you intend to purchase them elsewhere.

Course Schedule
January 31

The Great War, the Weimar Republic and the Origins of Nazism

Burleigh, The Third Reich, pp. 26-84.
Allen, The Nazi Seizure of Power, pp. 4-22.

February 7

Economic Depression and the Struggle for Power

Burleigh, The Third Reich, pp. 85-145.
Allen, The Nazi Seizure of Power, pp. 24-68, 70-147.
Peukert, Inside Nazi Germany, pp. 26-46.

February 14

Consolidating Power—The Nazi State

Burleigh, The Third Reich, pp. 151-215.
Allen, The Nazi Seizure of Power, pp. 152-232.
Peukert, Inside Nazi Germany, pp. 49-66.   

February 21

Manufacturing Consent

Burleigh, The Third Reich, pp. 219-28.
Allen, The Nazi Seizure of Power, pp. 234-303.
Johnson, Nazi Terror, pp. 29-79, 161-194
Peukert, Inside Nazi Germany, pp. 67-125, 197-207.

February 28

Jews, Anti-Semitism and the Christian Churches

Burleigh, The Third Reich, pp. 252-277, 281-342.
Johnson, Nazi Terror, 83-158, 195-250.
Hilberg, “The Destruction of the European Jews: Precedents,” in The Holocaust, ed. Bartov, pp. 21-42.

March 6

Women and Youth in the Fatherland

Burleigh, The Third Reich, pp. 229-38.
Johnson, Nazi Terror, pp. 254-301.
Claudia Koonz, Mothers in the Fatherland, pp. 175-219 (Blackboard).
Peukert, Inside Nazi Germany, pp. 145-174,187-96.

Midterm exam will be handed out

March 13 Midterm exam paper due by 6:30 pm. No class.
March 20 No class.
March 27

Racial Ideology, Eugenics and “Euthanasia”

Burleigh, The Third Reich, pp. 345-404.
Burleigh, “Psychiatry, German Society and the Nazi ‘Euthanasia’ Programme,” in The Holocaust, ed. Bartov, pp. 43-62.
Giesela Bock, “Antinatalism, Maternity and Paternity in National Socialist Racism,” in Nazism and German Society, ed. Crew, pp. 110-140 (Blackboard).           
Friedlander, “Step by Step,” in The Holocaust, ed. Bartov, pp.63-76.           
Peukert, Inside Nazi Germany, pp. 208-35.

April 3

Blitzkrieg—Nazi Germany at War           

Burleigh, The Third Reich pp. 407-511           
Peukert, Inside Nazi Germany, pp.125-44.

April 10

From War of Conquest to War of Annihilation           

Burleigh, The Third Reich, pp. 512-67.
Klee, Dreesen and Reiss, eds., “Once again I’ve got to play general to the Jews,” in The Holocaust, ed. Bartov, pp.185-203.
Johnson, Nazi Terror, pp. 303-51.

April 17

The War Against the Jews           

Burleigh, The Third Reich, pp. 571-629.           
Johnson, Nazi Terror, pp. 379-404.
Browning, “One Day in Jozefow,” in Nazism and German Society, ed. Crew, pp. 300-315 (Blackboard).
Gerlach, “The Wannsee Conference,” in The Holocaust, ed. Bartov, pp. 106-61.

April 24

“Final Solution”           

Burleigh, The Third Reich, pp. 630-62.           
Johnson, Nazi Terror, pp. 405-59.           
Aly, “The Planning Intelligentsia” in The Holocaust, ed. Bartov,  pp. 92-105. 
Horwitz, “Places far away, places very near,” in The Holocaust, ed Bartov, pp. 204-218.           
Kovály, “Under a Cruel Star,” in The Holocaust, ed. Bartov, pp. 219-31.

May 1

The Defeat of Nazi Germany—Living with the Nazi Past            

Burleigh, The Third Reich, pp. 665-812.           
Johnson, Nazi Terror, pp. 463-87.           
Levi, “The Gray Zone,” in The Holocaust, ed. Bartov, pp. 251-72.           
Finkielkraut, “Remembering in Vain,” in The Holocaust, ed Bartov, pp. 273-91. 

Final exam will be handed out

May 8 Final exam paper due by 6:30 pm. No class.
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