This lesson complements the resources from Chapter 4 of Holocaust and Human Behavior to help students investigate some of the choices available to Germans in elections in the early 1930s and understand the variety of reasons many Germans supported the Nazi Party. After analyzing the platforms of three Weimar political parties—the Social Democrats, the Communists, and the Nazis—students will read short biographies of several German citizens. Using details from the biographies, the party platforms, and any information they have learned before this lesson about the Weimar Republic, students will then determine which political party they believe each citizen would have supported.
The citizen biographies are fictional and were created for this lesson, in part to provoke discussion and reasoned argument; determining which party each individual would have supported is not always easy, and there is no correct answer. By analyzing each biography and hypothesizing about which party each individual would support, students will not only learn more about the variety of ways the Nazis and other political parties could attract support; they will also wrestle with the difficult and nuanced choices that citizens in a democracy must often make at the polls. This lesson will prompt especially meaningful discussion among students if it is implemented after they have had the opportunity to explore and analyze a variety of other resources from Chapter 4 of Holocaust and Human Behavior that deal with the government, culture, and economics of the Weimar Republic.