Create a timeline representing the key events presented in this chapter, and then consider the following questions:
- Historians have identified Kristallnacht as a key turning point in this period of history. Based on what you’ve learned, do you agree with this assessment? What other events from this chapter seem especially important to you?
- How did life in Germany change between 1935 and 1939? How did Germany’s position in the world change between 1935 and 1939?
- How did world leaders respond to Nazi aggression in Germany and beyond? What priorities guided their thinking? Why did foreign leaders fail to recognize the dangers that the Nazi regime posed?
- When does a country have a right or duty to intervene in the affairs of other countries? What events in this chapter have most influenced your thinking about this question?
- We often use the following terms to describe the range of human behavior in times of crisis: perpetrator, victim, bystander, upstander. How would you define each of these roles? What dilemmas and choices faced by individuals, groups, and countries described in this chapter have influenced your thinking about these roles?
Historian Ian Kershaw has described the feelings of most Germans toward the restrictions on Jews during the 1930s as “indifference,” by which he means not “neutrality” but rather “turning one’s back on an evil in recognition that nothing can be done about it and . . . feeling that other concerns are more pressing or overwhelming.” To strengthen his argument, Kershaw later added such qualifying terms as “lethal indifference” and “moral indifference.”
How would you evaluate Kershaw’s argument in light of the readings in this chapter? What does indifference have to do with morality? How might indifference be lethal?