The Great War devastated Germany. After the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, Germany went into a deep depression. The country had to pay reparations for World War I to other countries and limit their military. Economy and industry were debilitated and Germany entered into a hyper-inflationary period. The German people suffered greatly, and blamed their leaders for prolonging the war and then badly negotiating terms in the Treaty of Versailles.
The success of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia spread fears of communist expansion. Many political activists were imprisoned for instigating political unrest. A prevalent attitude among the German people was a preference for an authoritative government or leading body.
Adolf Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, a political manifesto, while serving time in prison for treason. Hitler blamed Germany’s disastrous economy on the Jewish race. After only serving nine months of a five-year sentence, Hitler, a mesmerizing speaker, drummed up enough political power and support to become Chancellor of Germany. His National Socialist Party (Nazi Party) took over and drastically changed Germany.
These activities are meant to help students grasp daunting questions about what lead to the bureaucratic and systematic extermination of the Jews, Romani, homosexuals, and other individuals that the Nazis deemed “undesirable”. Students will be able to represent the causes of the Holocaust and explain how the horrors of the Holocaust came to be.
Check out other lesson plans on history and literature during World War II and Holocaust