Explore the preparations made by Hitler as he geared up for war. Read through a secondary source, with excerpts from some primary sources, in order to get an understanding of how these actions were viewed. Explained as defensive measures, Hitler began increasing the military, reconstructing the German air force, and taking back the Rhineland.
Early concentration camps tested what the Nazis could get away with. They were also a place where SS and SA officers could be groomed to act out violently towards prisoners.
- 1How did the early use of concentration camps set the stage for their expanded use in the Final Solution?
Ask students what they know about concentration camps. Do they know when they started? What kind of people were imprisoned in them?
Read through the resource, Early Camps by the BBC with the class. Then go back and demonstrate how to get to the primary sources by clicking on the red lettering in the text and then clicking on “Read Document” that comes up.
Dissect the first resource, “mass arrests” as a class. Use the following guidelines to help go through it:
- First, identify where the source is coming from.
- Summarize the resource.
- What assumptions can be drawn from it?
- Lastly, come up with a question that comes out of your reflections. The question should attempt to generate conversation between you and your classmates.
Divide the class into groups of three or five and assign each group one of the eight other primary sources. Some sources are longer than others, so you may decide you want to have larger groups analyze those. The longer resources are the ones labeled: ‘no mercy’, ‘murders’, ‘left-wing prisoners’, and ‘German Jews’.
Have them repeat what you did as a class in their groups with their assigned resource. Ask each group to present their resource to the class verbally. If possible, project each resource for the class as the group goes over it.
Wisconsin Academic Standards
This lessons meets the following Academic Standards required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.