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The Third Reich


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor: to be confirmed
  • Assessment: a 3000-word essay (25%), a gobbet assignment (25%) and a three-hour examination (50%)

Module description

The Third Reich casts a very dark shadow over the twentieth century and historians have long tried to understand how modern Germany could descend, in the space of a few years, into brutal terror, racial warfare and genocide. This course explores the rise and development of Nazi rule, from the seemingly inauspicious early years of the Nazi movement after the First World War to the Holocaust and to the final collapse of Hitler’s ‘Thousand Year Reich’ in 1945, following the most destructive war in history.

The course will help you to develop a deeper understanding of state and society in Nazi Germany, exploring the development of the Third Reich from different perspectives.

Key themes include the dynamics of rule and Hitler’s leadership, economic and social change, propaganda and popular opinion, terror and resistance, and war and extermination. The course is based around the study of original documents in translation and most of the seminars will involve the discussion of a prescribed set of original documents. This discussion, as well as the study of the relevant secondary literature, will help to familiarise you with the development and current state of historical research about this crucial period of modern history.