As a theoretical matter, in the first half of the course I tried to suggest to you that democracy is not just a particular set of representative institutions, but also presumes a pluralistic civil society (such that other social institutions complement democratic values and practices), and citizens possessing a democratic character (sensibility, values, beliefs, behaviors).

Democracy and its dynamics

In the second half of the course, we looked at some of the ways in which the Nazi Third Reich consolidated itself, and though it is often described as having been ‘totalitarian,’ in fact, the main difference is that whereas democracy hopes for a congruence of institutions, civil society and character, the Nazi regime actively and forcibly coordinated that alignment and eliminated pluralistic discrepancies in doing so.


Pictures matter (5)

-       Can you recognize and correctly name the key figures pertinent to 1933-45.

-       Other pictures (from the course webpage but also student prezis)

If I gave you a particular work of art, architecture etc (typically something that we did actually look at in class, although perhaps only in passing), could you say something about how it was variously understood or read, or likely given meaning, at the time, in relation to …


German Vocabulary matters too (5)

I didn’t succeed in getting you to use enough Nazi Deutsch words in class (and I’m still hoping that you will use more in your papers duly italicized).  Regardless, we are behooved to know, some of the fundamental terms, and not just the literal English translation but the brief significance too, including but not limited to …. (See Lee 200-1).








Geheime Staatspolizei


Hitler Jugend












Competing Explanations are crucial (40, 5 each)

In Part 1 of the course, we looked at 11 lines of explanation (stressing particular sorts of independent variables and causal dynamics) for the demise of the Weimar Republic. 




Each can also be aligned with our focus for this exam, namely, the 8 explanations for the consolidation of the Nazi Third Reich:


1. The Hitler State – charismatic and intentional authority

2. The Terror State – brute force – murder, violence, intimidation and surveillance, camp system, acceptance of order out of terror of Other

3. The Brainwashed State – power of propaganda including education and language itself

4. The Beautiful State – cultivate national folk art beauty and appreciation

5. The Happy State – economic self-interest, consumer sovty instead of citizen sovty

6. The Pure State – collective fulfillment of the (divinely or scientifically endorsed) natural and superior order against unnatural and deficient others

7. The Antisemitic State – civilizational mission is to rid Europe (if not the world) of the dangerous and demonic Jew

8. The War State – momentum of militarism and unfinished WWI carries forward


-       are you familiar with each of the 8? could you briefly but with specificity articulate each?

-       can you specify their optimal temporal relevance in terms of relevant years?

-       can you point to what epitomizes each?


Haffner is worth taking seriously (10)

In understanding the demographics of support for the Nazi regime, from 1933-38, Haffner offers a subtle disaggregation into five distinct cohorts.  What were they? Who and how many (%age-wise) constituted each?  What were their characteristics, according to Haffner?


Epistemology to get at what the Nazis thought they knew (12)



- Theory of knowledge

- How we know what we know?



Four epistemological sources:



Rational but prone to manipulation


1 Sensory knowledge plus inductive reasoning

- science, probabilistic, generalizations

2 Deductive reasoning

- logic, mathematics, technical knowledge, engineering




Non-rational and hence prone to irrational appeals


3. Internal knowing

- intuitive, innate, instinct, affective

- art, culture, worldview, Weltanschauung

4. Revelation - religion, transcendent, eternal, mysticism





If you were presented with some text or speech by Hitler or a similar elite figure, could you parse it critically for the ways in which distinct epistemological sources are invoked, and used in familiar ways, but also manipulated in distinctively Nazi ways?  At what junctures in such a speech/text might you (imagining that you were there at the time) have tried to argumentatively intervene and how?




Nazis used?

Nazis added?

Inductive reasoning


Scientific method


Although they mostly required that science conform to racial expectations/predictions.


They criticized ‘objectivity’ for failing to be useful to the volk.


Racial(ized) science:






Political Science







Deductive reasoning


Science &


They were reasonably effective in continuing to engage selectively in technological innovations and certainly in modernizing Germany.


Arguably, they would have declined over time given the under-investment in genuinely objective academic study.


Non-falsifiable ‘Logic’ of Weltanschauung.


Truth becomes a function of success in implementation.





Internal knowing


Symbolic, Art &


Aesthetics is political so they politicized aesthetics.


Great German Art Shows.


Also music, craft and architecture.

Propaganda to propagate a particular language, view and even experience of the world not just in overtly political and material terms but through aesthetic and affective considerations.


Degenerate Alien Art Show.






External revelation



Cooptation and coexistence of Protestantism and Catholicism, alongside Neo-paganism.


Emerging break circa 1937-8, especially in discourse of the SS, the leading edge of the Nazi racialized future.


However, once into the war, the Nazi regime retreated to respectful invocations of churches and religiosity.


Hitler characterized as prophet and increasingly sacralized or sanctified or deified, and Nazism turned into a political religion/religious politics.



Essay Questions (12, I will offer only one)


Of the 8 explanations given for the consolidation of the Nazi Third Reich, which one do you find most compelling? Why, and which one do you find least compelling? Why.  In answering be clear about your own sense of the primary causal determinants of socio-political outcomes in general (i.e., political power, economic resources, cultural factors, ideas and ideology, etc).


Historians sometimes focus on ‘turning points,’ i.e., singular moments that are decisive in the subsequent vector of the historical sequence of events.  Doing so, sometimes makes it possible to talk not only about causality but about responsibility and blame.  In this case, regarding WWII and/or the Holocaust, if you had to point to one such moment that is fraught with significance, and that had it been otherwise a very different outcome could have resulted, what would it be?  Explain.


This is not a course about contemporary US or global politics, still, what three distinct and substantial lessons relevant to US domestic or foreign policy today might you draw from the historical experience of Nazism?  Explain.



Questions on Student Presentations (and Prezis) (16, ½ ea)


You should expect two questions on each of the 16 presentations.  The presentations will be identified by student name and even the title, and in formulating the questions I will try to rely on content that is also in the text of the prezi while also rewarding you for having actually paid attention to one another in class.


1. Soren

Kant and Nazism: The categorical betrayal of humanity

2. Lexi

Rejection Generates Love: The youth movement in Weimar Germany

3. Will


Democracy and the military: is a strong military an asset or a hindrance?

4. Jullian

Colonial Conquering: The Nazi invasion of Eastern Europe

5. Paige

Blood or Soil? Exploring the motivations behind the environmental policy in the Nazi Third Reich

1. Audrey

Youth in the Weimar Republic

2. Courtney

Nazi Body Language

3. Isabel

Why can’t we be friends? Nazi foreign policy towards Russia

4. Elaine

Hitler’s rhetorical efficacy

5. Jason

Was Nazism a Technologically Modern Movement?

1. Stephen

Cosmopolitanism and Democracy

2. Matt

Was Nazism Religious?

3. Joe

Appeasing Nazi Germany Leading up to WWII

4. Lauren

Hitler’s Split Image of America

5. Lucas

Christianity and Nazism: A Sinister Manipulation?

6. Maddie

How to get away with murder: women as monsters in the Third Reich