The rise of Nazism was aided by a depression that plagued Germany after the stock market crash of 1929, which left German citizens vulnerable to the rhetoric of a leader who promised to improve their lives.
- 1How can a dictator gain control of a democracy even without winning the vote of the majority of the people?
Explain to students that Nazism became increasingly popular during the Great Depression and during a time of political crisis in Germany’s Weimar Republic. Ask your students to think critically about why they think this could be the case. What was it about the struggles of German life during this time that made the extremist views of the Nazis more appealing?
Direct students to the Facing History and Ourselves reading titled, Hitler in Power. You may choose to read through the resource as a class or have the class go through it in small groups of three to five. After reading, either as a class or in small groups, discuss the Connection Questions found at the bottom of the page.
After you go through the first resource, pull up the resource, “Restoring” Germany’s Civil Service by Facing History and Ourselves. Again, you may choose to do this as a class or in the small groups. Have students go through the Connection Questions at the bottom of this page as well.
Devote approximately 15 minutes to each reading.
In an open discussion, ask students what they learned from going through the readings. What surprised them about the relationship between Adolf Hitler and President Paul von Hindenburg?
Wisconsin Academic Standards
This lessons meets the following Academic Standards required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.