Math 105 First Year Seminar
The Coming of the Third Reich
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.