Lesson Plan

The Popular Choice

Explore the rise of Nazism in the early stages and see the road that allowed Adolf Hitler to climb the political ladder in Germany.

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Enduring Understanding

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.

Essential Question

  • 1How can a dictator gain control of a democracy even without winning the vote of the majority of the people?


10 Min
Teacher's Note
Students should have an understanding of the Weimar Republic prior to this lesson. If necessary, go back to a lesson on the Weimar Republic before moving forward. Alternatively, you can go to the teacher primer and create a condensed overview to help students better understand the lesson.

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?


30 Min

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.


10 Min

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?

Teacher Primer

Know Before You Go

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