Nazi Germany (1933-1945)

Course Information

Professor: Robert W. Brown

Course Description

History 4300 is an in-depth and interdisciplinary history and analysis of Germany during the Nazi period (1933-1945). It begins with a chronological overview of Nazi Germany, from its origins during the Weimar Republic to its destruction at the end of World War II. The course's central section focuses on the discussion and analysis of primary materials dealing with selected aspects of the Nazi period, such as ideology, family life and women, education, propaganda, the arts, the war, and the Holocaust. The course concludes with an evaluation of the Nazi legacy, and it considers, among other topics, the problem of writing the history of Nazi Germany, the Historikerstreit, the "Germans historians' dispute" of the 1980s, and the difficulty of designing memorials and/or museums for the Nazi era and the Holocaust.

Nazi Germany is a discussion as well as lecture class, and students are expected to participate actively and voluntarily. Discussions will be based on the assigned readings, which are of two sorts, primary sources and essays by modern historians. Each student is expected to keep up with these readings. On occasion, as at the beginning of the course, lectures will be given to cover large amounts of back-ground material in an efficient fashion. Both the discussions and the lectures will be supplemented with contemporary films and images.

Course Goals

***a chronological survey of Nazi Germany, from its origins during the Weimar Republic to its modern German legacy;

***an in-depth study of selected topics from the Nazi period;

***an introduction to the reading and evaluation of primary sources, written as well as visual;

***a consideration of history as a field of study, with an emphasis on the critical evaluation of secondary books, articles, and films;

***an appreciation of the relevance of the study of history for an understanding of contemporary Germany and Europe, with an emphasis on the historical foundations of current developments;

***an opportunity to improve written and oral communication skills.

***an introduction to materials on the World Wide Web dealing with the history of Germany during the Nazi era.

Course Requirements

1. Required Texts:

2. Tests: There will be two tests and a final examination, each consisting of short answer/ identification, matching, and multiple-choice questions. The final examination will be a take-home project.  At the beginning of each unit of study, a list of the important names, terms, events, and so on will be distributed; test items will be taken from this study sheet. Make-up tests will be given only if the student notifies the instructor in advance of an assigned test date; make-up tests [of the original test] must be taken before the next scheduled class meeting. Make-up tests taken after the class meeting following the original test will consist of twenty-five identification questions. Approximate test dates may be found on the Course Outline.

3.  Three Essays:  One Analysis of an Internet Site (10%); One Essay (10%); and One Primary Source Analysis (15%).

The Analysis of an Internet Site must be a review and analysis of World Wide Web Materials on a topic relevant to HST 430.  The site analyzed should be selected from those listed on the HST 430 Web Links page.  Students who wish to analyze a site not on this page must obtain advance permission from the instructor.  Specific directions for this assignment are posted on the Internet Site for HST 430.  The analysis is due on 29 January 2008.

The Essay can be on a subject of the student's choice, so long as the subject chosen deals with Hitler or the Nazi period.  The essay topic must be approved in advance by the instructor.  Each student will submit a brief proposal for the essay, a tentative bibliography, and a date for its submission.  The essay proposal is due on 11 March 2008.  The essay should be documented and be at least five or more typed pages long.  The last day to submit the essay is 01 April 2008.

The Primary Source Analysis must be a study and interpretation of a key primary document or documents for the history of Nazi Germany.  The document or documents must be selected from those reprinted in Stackelberg and Winkle, The Nazi Germany Sourcebook: An Anthology of Texts or from Sax and Kuntz, Inside Hitler's Germany (copies will be provided). Instructions for the completion of this assignment are posted on the HST 4300 web site.  The Primary Source Analysis is due on 10 April 2008.

4. Questions for Class Discussion: On a regular basis, hand-outs with questions relating to the reading assignments will be distributed. Students will be assigned to answer these questions in writing and to stimulate discussion of them in class. These answers, which will be turned in and graded, and active participation in the class discussions are worth 05% of the total course grade.

5. Grading: Grading will be based on the three tests, the discussion questions and the paper/essays.

6. Grading Scale: To earn a grade in HST 4300, ALL required course work must be submitted.  Course work (other and the final project) must be submitted by the last day of classes.  Late work will not be accepted during exam week.

7. Extra Credit:  Students may earn up to a maximum of five (5) points (added to your final course average) by writing an additional essay (Internet Analysis, Essay, or Primary Source Analysis).  Your letter grade on the essay will determine the number of points earned.  The essay must be turned in before 22 April 2008.  A=5 extra credit points; A-/B+ = 4; B/B- = 3; C+/C = 2; C- = 1.

8. Class Attendance: History 4300 is a discussion as well as a lecture class and the readings discussed in class will be emphasized on the tests; regular class attendance is therefore important. Students are accordingly expected to attend every class, beginning with the first session. Absence from class, no matter what the cause, does not excuse a student from any course requirements. Make-up work is at the discretion of the instructor. Attendance will be taken.  Cell phones should be turned off while in class.

9. Late Work: Work submitted late will be accepted without penalty if arrangements are made in advance; otherwise, late work will be accepted but penalized five points per class period.

10. Web Pages: Selected materials for this course are posted on the HST 430 Web Page.

11. Honor Code.  Students are expected to comply with the provisions of the Academic Honor Code and the Code of Conduct, which are printed in the Student Handbook and are available on the web site of the Office of Students Affairs.

12. Office Hours: Weekly office hours are posted on my office door in the History Department (N212); if these hours are inconvenient, please see me after class or telephone (910.521.6438) to make an appointment. E-mail:

13. Emergency Information Hot Line: For information about possible university closings or delays in opening, call 910.521.6888 or access the UNC Pembroke web page.

14. Students with Documented Disabilities: Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments should speak directly to Disability Support Services and the instructor during the first two weeks of class.  All discussions will remain confidential.  For assistance, please contact Mary Helen Walker, Office of Disability Support Services, D. F. Lowry Building, (910.521.6695) or visit the Office of Disability Support Services web site (

This page is maintained by Robert W. Brown;
Last Update: 03.I.2008

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