Despotic Empires of the 1930's andThe Last World War, 1939-1945

| November 13, 2015

Despotic Empires of the 1930’s andThe Last World War, 1939-1945
Please follow the instructions and answer the questions:
Chapter 5: Despotic Empires of the 1930’s
Chapter 6: The Last World War, 1939-1945
The main text for this course is The Twentieth Century: From Empires to Nations, by Brower. This week, you will read from Chapter 5, “Despotic Empires of the 1930s”, and Chapter 6, “The Last World War”.
Dictatorship and Democracy (graded)
1. Analyze Adolf Hitler’s rise to power and the policies he used to rule Germany. Textbook tyrant? Overheated Nationalist?
Let’s start out by looking at Hitler’s policy of indoctrinating the German people. The text tells us that the Nazis burned books with opposing or “incorrect” views in public bonfires (Goff et. al. 230).
On May 1, 1933, thousands of Nazi students and professors raided libraries and bookstores in 30 German cities. The authors of some of the books burned were Jews, but most were not. Some examples of those authors whose books were burned are Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Thomas Mann, Ernest Hemingway, and Helen Keller. When Helen Keller heard her books were burned she said “Tyranny cannot defeat the power of ideas.” (From Michael Berenbaum, The World Must Know: A History of the Holocaust as Told in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, pp. 24-25).
Nazi book burning
2. A century earlier, Heinrich Heine, a German poet of Jewish origin wrote: “Where one burns books, one will, in the end, burn people.” Do you agree? Why is this such a prophetic statement?
World War II and the Holocaust (graded)
World War II and the Holocaust (graded)
1. The following statement was taken from a contemporary account of Germany in 1939: “Though the Fuhrer’s anti-Semitic program furnished the National Socialist party in the first instances with a nucleus and a rallying-cry, it was swept into office by two things with which the “Jewish Problem” did not have the slightest connection. On the one side was economic distress and the revulsion against Versailles: on the other, chicanery and intrigue…Hitler and his party promised the unhappy Germans a new heaven and a new earth, coupled with the persecution of the Jews. Unfortunately a new heaven and earth cannot be manufactured to order. But a persecution of the Jews can…” How do you interpret this contemporary account of the persecution of people who are Jewish? Elaborate.
1. According to Hitler’s ideology that he explained in his book, Mein Kampf, the “Aryan race” was responsible for creating the world’s great civilizations while the Jews were responsible for undermining human progress. He also argued that German people needed living space or “lebensraum” in order to develop their potential. How does this vision explain the motivations for the Second World War and how the persecution of the Jews became such a central aspect of the Nazi program?

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Meaning of History


Category: History

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