Everyday Life in the Third Reich
Block 5, 2012
Cartoon by the exiled caricaturist Fulk, 1934
Professor Kris Pangburn
Office: 215F Palmer Hall
Office Hours: Tuesday/Thursday 12:15-1:45 pm and by appointment
This course examines everyday life in Hitler’s Germany by focusing in large part on the
testimonials of ordinary German men and women. Questions to be considered include:
Who voted for the National Socialists and why?
Did the masses genuinely support the regime, or were they coerced into doing so?
How deeply ingrained were anti-Semitic attitudes among the German people?
What did the average German know about the Holocaust?
Why didn’t many Jews leave before it was too late?
Should ordinary German soldiers be regarded as criminals?
How did the Germans experience the transition to a world without National Socialism?
Whittock, A Brief History of the Third Reich (Running Press) 9780762441211
Johnson and Reuband, What We Knew (Basic Books) 9780465085729
Gay, My German Question (Yale University Press) 9780300080704
Hunt, On Hitler’s Mountain (Harper Perennial) 9780060532185
Anonymous, A Woman in Berlin (Picador) 9780312426118
* All other readings listed on the syllabus will be distributed in a course packet.
Paper #1 30%
Paper #2 20%
Instructions for the journal and the two papers will be given in class. Please make sure that you
follow the honor code while writing your essays and confirm your adherence by writing “Honor
Code Upheld” and signing your name at the end of each assignment. Students taking the course
pass/fail must complete all assignments.
For our course to succeed, it is vital that everyone attend class every day. Please be on time, and
make sure that you have turned off cell phones and computers. In addition, you should take
advantage of “official” breaks for personal needs.
Reading assignments are due on the day they are assigned. Be sure to come to class prepared to
discuss the day’s assignment. Students are expected to read with care and imagination, annotating
their texts thoughtfully and sharing their perspectives generously.
If you have a disability and require accommodations for this course, please speak with me privately
as soon as possible. If you have not already done so, you will need to register with Disability
Services (Learning Commons at Tutt Library, Room 152, 227-8285).
Lecture and Reading Schedule – Class meetings will begin at 9:30 AM unless otherwise noted.
Mon, 1/23: Introduction
Tues, 1/24: The Nazi Rise to Power, 1919-1933
Whittock, Intro; Chs. 1-4
Benz, A Concise History of the Third Reich – Excerpt #1
Noakes, “The Rise of the Nazis” in History Today
Johnson and Reuband, What We Knew, 325-345
Wed, 1/25: Germany Under the Swastika, 1933-1939
Whittock, Chs. 5-8, 13, 15-16
Benz, A Concise History of the Third Reich – Excerpt #2
Johnson and Reuband, What We Knew, 346-360
Kershaw, “The Hitler Myth” in History Today
Kershaw, “Hitler and the Uniqueness of Nazism” in Journal of Contemporary History
Thurs, 1/26: Nazi Racial Policies
Whittock, Chs. 9-10, 17-18
* Gay, My German Question, Preface, 1-91
Fri, 1/27: A Jew Who Emigrated – Peter Gay
* Gay, My German Question, 92-206
Mon, 1/30: A Jew Who Stayed – Victor Klemperer
* Excerpts from Klemperer, I Will Bear Witness
Heim, “The German-Jewish Relationship in the Diaries of Victor Klemperer” in Probing the
Depths of German Antisemitism
Tues, 1/31: What Did Ordinary Germans Know About the Holocaust?
* Johnson and Reuband, What We Knew, 141-225; 367-75
Moorehouse, “Beyond Belief” in History Today
Wed, 2/1: Women and Children in the Third Reich
Whittock, Chs. 11-12
Pine, “Nazism in the Classroom” in History Today
Pine, “Girls in Uniform” in History Today
von Saldern, “Victims or Perpetrators? Controversies About the Role of Women in the
Nazi State” in Nazism and German Society
Excerpt from Kühne, Belonging and Genocide
~ FILM: Heil Hitler! Confessions of a Hitler Youth (1991) ~
Thurs, 2/2: Growing Up Nazi – Irmgard Hunt
* Hunt, On Hitler’s Mountain, 1-133
Fri, 2/3: Growing Up Nazi – Irmgard Hunt, cont’d
* Hunt, On Hitler’s Mountain, 134-275
Mon, 2/6: Artists and Intellectuals: Protest and Collaboration * Class meets from 1:00-3:00 PM *
PAPER #1 DUE IN CLASS
Whittock, Ch. 14
Excerpts from Evans’ The Coming of the Third Reich and The Third Reich in Power
~ FILM: Scenes from Triumph of the Will (1935) and The Wonderful, Horrible
Life of Leni Riefenstahl (1993) ~
Tues, 2/7: Humor in the Third Reich
Excerpts from Herzog, Dead Funny: Humor in Hitler’s Germany
Excerpts from Hillenbrand, Underground Humour in Nazi Germany
Coupe, “Adolf Hitler and the Cartoonists” in History Today
Wed, 2/8: The View From the Frontline: Soldiers’ Letters
Excerpt from Fritz, Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II
* Excerpt from Tubach, German Voices: Memories of Life During Hitler’s Third Reich
Karsten, “Confessions of a German Soldier” in History Today
~ FILM: Confessions of a German Soldier (2008) ~
Thurs, 2/9: The Wehrmacht Controversy
Excerpts from Wette, The Wehrmacht: History, Myth, Reality
Friedländer, “The Wehrmacht, German Society, and the Knowledge of the Mass
Extermination of the Jews” in Crimes of War
* Johnson and Reuband, What We Knew, 226-259
~ FILM: The Unknown Soldier (2006) ~
Fri, 2/10: Life Under the Bombs
Whittock, Chs. 19, 21-22
Excerpts from Moorehouse, Berlin At War
* Anonymous, A Woman in Berlin, Forward; Intro; 1-61
Mon, 2/13: Survival in the Ruins
* Anonymous, A Woman in Berlin, 61-261
Tues, 2/14: Voices of Dissent
Whittock, Ch. 20
Benz, A Concise History of the Third Reich – Excerpt #3
Peukert, “Young People: Mobilization and Refusal” in Inside Nazi Germany
~ FILM: Sophie Scholl – The Final Days (2005) ~
Wed, 2/15: PAPER #2 DUE BY 5:00 PM
The Fate by Paul Weber (1932)