The Weimar Republic Personalities

Like the primary source documents on this website, this section offers only a sampling of key figures from Weimar Germany. The group represents a wide spectrum of political and social perspectives. Click on any of the names below to begin an exploration of the individuals whose choices and actions helped shape the course of events.

Adolf Hitler emerged from WWI in 1918 as a man with none of the normal prerequisites for success in Germany. He had no University degrees, and lacked even a secondary school leaving certificate. He had no distinguished family name and no family connections. He had not been an officer in the army. He had no money and lacked a trade or profession. He was not even a German citizen. Yet by 1932, he had built the most successful political movement of the Weimar years and had become the most popular political leader in Germany. Consumed by racist antisemitism and contempt for democracy, he destroyed the Weimar Republic and created the genocidal Nazi dictatorship.

Read about Bernard Lichtenberg, a Catholic priest who spoke out against the Nazis.

Learn about Bertha Pappenheim who was a leader in championing the cause of German women and was the head of the Judisches Frauenbund (Federation of Jewish Women).

Read biographical information and artistic background on Germain filmmaker Fritz Lang. Lang was a film director in the Weimar Republic.


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Everything you need to get started teaching your students about racism, antisemitism and prejudice.