Lesson Plan

Propaganda and the Third Reich

Gain an understanding of the depth of which Hitler and Joseph Goebbels were able to indoctrinate the general public with their ideology. This reading will help students understand the reach of propaganda during Nazi Germany and how this transformed the nation.

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Nazi Germany

Enduring Understanding

Hitler and the Nazi party used propaganda to sway public opinion. They were able to create different messages for various audiences.

Essential Question

  • 1What makes propaganda so effective?


5 Min

Ask students to define propaganda. Discuss ways that propaganda is used today.


20 Min

Go to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s online exhibit about propaganda.

Explore the “Student Activity” section and look through the themes. Choose one or more to explore with your students. Read through some of the subsections under these themes and click on the ‘Related Artifacts’ associated with that topic.

For example, if you click on the theme, ‘Rallying the Nation’ you can read the subsection ‘The Nazi Myth’ and explore the artifact, ‘Poster: “We Women are Voting Slate 2 National Socialists.”’


20 Min

Divide the students into groups of 3 – 4 students Provide each with a current print advertisement or political ad. They can focus on these questions to present and discuss:

  1. Who is the target audience?
  2. What is their message?
  3. How is it conveyed through images and words?
  4. How effective is this message?

Come back together as a class and ask students: How do these messages shape a person’s perspective? How does this help to explain the effectiveness of Nazi propaganda?

Wisconsin Academic Standards

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

Teacher Primer

Know Before You Go

Before you teach, use our teacher primer to freshen up on your content knowledge.