Lesson Plan

Attacking the Führer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the most prominent opponents of the Nazi regime. Introduce your students to him by reading a scathing critique of the leadership style of Adolf Hitler.

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Enduring Understanding

Certain forms of leadership lend themselves to violence.

Essential Question

  • 1What is the responsibility of a leader?


5 Min

Create a collective workspace (chalkboard or online space) that is divided into two sides.
Then, ask your students to reflect on what makes a good leader. Ask them to offer some words or ideas. Write down summations of what was said on one side of the collective work space. Challenge them to move past characteristics and think about the approaches that they think are positive.


20 Min

Have your students read Excerpt 9 from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s speech (page 3), which happened two days after Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany.

Have them read with the 3Ps method: They should take notes on what they find to be the most a) Powerful b) Puzzling and c) Propelling. Give them 15 minutes to read and record their responses on their own.

In order to familiarize yourself, and your class with this model, please look over this guide: 3Ps: A Critical Reading Guide.


25 Min

Ask students to share their reflections on the speech by Bonhoeffer. Help clarify any of the puzzling and point (if possible) toward further exploration when students are propelled toward another subject or thought that was sparked by the reading. Spend 15 minutes on the 3Ps.

Then return to the collective workspace and ask them to identify what makes a good leader, specifically prompting them to think about the Bonhoeffer piece. As participation wanes, turn to a comparison of the two sides. Are there any words or ideas that showed up on both sides? Can they conclude anything about what it means to act like a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ leader?

Wisconsin Academic Standards

This lessons meets the following Academic Standards required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Teacher Primer

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