Lesson Plan

A Solution to Weimar

Learn about the complex and trying time that Germany experienced during the Weimar Republic (1919-1933).

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Nazi Germany

Enduring Understanding

The Weimar Republic was Germany’s first democracy; meaning leaders were tasked with a complete makeover of institutions, political culture, education, and judiciary systems.

Essential Question

  • 1How do fragile democracies create fertile ground for extremism?


5 Min
Teacher's Note
Prior to this lesson students should have general knowledge and understanding of the Treaty of Versailles. If necessary, go over a lesson on the Treaty of Versailles before moving on.

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?


25 Min

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?


10 Min
Teacher's Note
Often students will wish to pull this conversation into the present day, Be ready to either engage with this carefully or redirect to the topic at hand.

Open up a discussion about how the Nazi party aimed to solve the problems prevalent during the Weimar years.

  1. What problems were people facing?
  2. How did the Nazi party benefit from these hard times?
  3. 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.

Teacher Primer

Know Before You Go

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