The Weimar Republic was Germany’s first democracy; meaning leaders were tasked with a complete makeover of institutions, political culture, education, and judiciary systems.
- 1How do fragile democracies create fertile ground for extremism?
Ask students how they might go about solving a problem under difficult circumstances. (Maybe they want money for a game system that their parents do not want to pay for. Perhaps their parents do not approve of them spending time with a new friend.) How does being faced with a difficult problem help inspire creativity?
Watch the video, Facing History Scholar Reflections: The Weimar Republic by Facing History and Ourselves once through as a class. Watch it a second time pausing after the following sections to discuss. Ask students what questions they have about the clips. Go through the questions that accompany each clip.
Beginning – 1:11 Intro to Weimar and the end of WWI
- How did the end of WWI set the stage for what was to come?
- Do you think the Allies had other options than the terms they set at Versailles?
1:20-2:32 Politics and the arts
- Name some ways German society changed during the early Weimar years?
- What are some of the most interesting developments during this era, in your opinion?
2:32-4:08 Outsiders and Insiders
- What was the event that led to rising popularity for the extremists?
- What is opportunism?
4:09-End Growing popularity with the Nazi party
- How do you think the Nazi party was able to gain so much traction?
- Why did people follow Nazism? Was it because of their anti-Jewish stance or for other reasons?
Open up a discussion about how the Nazi party aimed to solve the problems prevalent during the Weimar years.
- What problems were people facing?
- How did the Nazi party benefit from these hard times?
- How were people convinced by their rhetoric?
Wisconsin Academic Standards
This lessons meets the following Academic Standards required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.