This unit draws upon and adapts materials from the resource books Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: The Genocide of the Armenians and Holocaust and Human Behavior, and it follows the Facing History scope and sequence. Students begin with an examination of the relationship between the individual and society, reflect on the way humans divide themselves into “in” groups and “out” groups, and explore how such dynamics contributed to the rise of Turkish nationalism and the Armenian Genocide. Students then dive deep into a historical case study of the Weimar Republic and the Nazi Party’s rise to power in Germany. Then, they bear witness to the human suffering of the Holocaust and examine the range of responses from individuals and nations to the genocidal mass murder perpetrated by the Nazi regime. In the unit’s later lessons, students draw connections between this history and the present day, weighing such questions as how to achieve justice and reconciliation in the aftermath of atrocities, how painful histories should be remembered, and how this history educates us about our responsibilities in the world today.
- Recognize the human tendency to create “in” groups and “out” groups and the consequences of that behavior for a society’s universe of obligation.
- Understand the particular historical context for the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust.
- Wrestle with the choices that individuals, groups, and nations made in response to the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust, as well as the aspects of human behavior that contributed to those choices.
- Make connections between universal themes related to democracy, citizenship, racism, and antisemitism that this history raises and the world they live in today. Understand their responsibilities as citizens of the world to make choices that help bring about a more human, just, and compassionate world.