Math 105 First Year Seminar

The Coming of the Third Reich

Fall 2017

Paul Goerss

Course Description

In 1933, under great internal and external stress, the democratic Weimar Republic of Germany collapsed, ceding power and control to the Nazi Party. There followed a humanitarian tragedy of incomprehensible scope that leveled Europe and drew in the entire world. History is never inevitable, and this was the result of decisions, choices, and attitudes of specific people in a specific era. We will examine what happened, how it happened, German culture of the time, the choices the leaders made, and the choices the ordinary people faced. We will read history to get a picture of events, but we will also read reprints of contemporary documents, and narratives written by people of the period. Germany was a highly developed and highly educated nation, an economic powerhouse with a long history of scientific, intellectual, cultural, and human achievement. It was also a nation in transition, faced with a unique set of social and economic pressures. The aim is to develop a case study in how this nation could step into the abyss of murderous totalitarianism.