The Weimar Republic was Germany’s first democracy; meaning leaders were tasked with a complete makeover of institutions, political culture, education, and judiciary systems.
- 1How can changes in government affect all aspects of society?
Ask students what they think Germany was like following the end of World War I. What might they expect it to have been like, after a war that saw them lose a great deal of power? Would they expect that the initial response would be radical democracy? Would they expect that democracy could lead to Nazism?
Pull up the resource, ‘The Weimar Republic: The Fragility of Democracy‘ by Facing History and Ourselves. Scroll to the bottom where all of the readings are located. Point out the different titles of resources that represent all that was happening during this brief period in German history.
Click on the reading titled, ‘Virtual Essay: Free Expression in the Weimar Republic‘ Read through the first paragraph and click through some of the images with the class. They will be assigned different readings from this page.
Divide the class into groups of three to five. Assign each group a reading. You may choose others, but recommendations include ‘Rumors of Betrayal’, ‘When Money Had No Value’, ‘Women in the Weimar Republic’, ‘A New Economic Crisis’ and ‘Voices in the Dark.’
Have students read through their article in groups and prepare to share what they learned from it with the class. Students should be able to answer what contribution it played into the fragile democracy.
Wisconsin Academic Standards
This lessons meets the following Academic Standards required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.