Hitler’s desire for “racial purity” and the removal of Jews from Germany was at the core of his actions.
- 1How would you react if a person of authority spoke out harshly against another group?
Ask students what they know about Adolf Hitler. Has anyone heard of any of the books he has written?
Explain to students that the first two excerpts come from Hitler’s books, both published before he took office. The first, Mein Kampf, was written while he was in jail after a failed attempt to overthrow the government. His second book, Zweites Buch, was written on his thoughts on foreign policy but was not published in his lifetime. The last came from a speech he gave in the Reichstag after he became chancellor.
Direct students to the document, Nazi Ideology from Echoes & Reflections to read excerpts from three of Hitler’s writings. Prep students by informing them that much of what they will read of Hitler’s words are disturbing and hateful. We are reading them to learn how destructive and wrong these beliefs are.
Have students pair up in groups of two to try to understand and rewrite each excerpt. Give students 10-12 minutes for these rewrites.
Ask the students to share their summaries with the class. Did everyone get the same general take-aways for each one? Open the class into a discussion asking the following questions:
- Was it difficult to understand what Hitler was trying to say?
- Were you surprised by the blatant hatred depicted in these writings?
- How did his wording change before and after he took the chancellorship?
- How do you think people would react nowadays if they heard a politician speaking so harshly?
Record some of the students’ answers to be used in other discussions about propaganda and Nazi ideology.
Wisconsin Academic Standards
This lessons meets the following Academic Standards required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.