Third Reich: The Rise – Part 1

Third Reich: THE RISE

2 hours 

This program deals with the ‘Rise’ of the Third Reich. It deals mostly with internal events in Germany from 1919 – 1938.

Much of the program is archival film from the ‘home movies’ of residents of Germany from different walks of life. Much of this material will be ‘new’ to your students. The conclusions drawn from the material may familiar.

This program will be useful for all students of Germany 1919-39. The perspectives should be interesting and may be challenging.
Denis Mootz

NB: Teacher previewing is recommended.


This is the data collection stage of the activity.
The detailed questioning is designed to ensure that students decode the visual and aural materials presented to them in the video.
The video programs can be stopped at the end of each section. This will allow students to share and discuss answers.


Note the ‘sentiments’ expressed in the USA War Department film.
Note the contrast drawn between the victors and the defeated.
Why did the German people expect to be “called to account”?
Note the statements about ‘being there’.
Note the promised twist on the story of how Hitler came to power.
Note the question about “shaking off the dictatorship of Nazi terror”.

Act 1. 

Note the brief account of WW1. Implications?
Note details of the Versailles Treaty. Implications?
What was it like in Germany in 1919?
Note the comments of Sebastian Haffner.
Note the comments about ‘saviours’.
How does this segue to Hitler?
Note the comments from Bella Fromm.
Why was Hitler in Munich in September 1923?
Note the tone of the comments about Hitler and his meetings. Implications?
Note details of the November Munich ‘putsch’.
Why did Hitler’s attempt to take power fail? Result?
Note the comments from Haffner about the Munich saviour.
How did Hitler exploit the flag from November 1923?
Note the comments from a party member. What did he want from Hitler? Implications?
Note the events on the streets of Berlin in 1929.
Where were member of the Nazi party in November 1929? Why?
Note details of the first Nuremberg Rally.
Note the use of the ‘blut fanne’.
Note the comments from Franz Buchner. Implications?
Why did Buchner think it was critical to introduce Germans to the Nazi ideals?
Note the comment about how ‘most Germans’ thought of Hitler.
What event of the late 1920s is linked to the rising power of the Nazis? Why?
Note the comments of Otto Bangert. Implications?

Act 2.

Note the film made by Walter Lenger in 1932.
What was the atmosphere like at the carnival?
What was happening elsewhere in Germany in 1932?
What ‘choices’ were Germans faced with? Implications? Result?
What was life like in Germany in 1932?
Note the sentiments from the Nazi campaign pamphlet. Implications?
Note details of Hitler’s election campaign in 1932. Result? Implications?
Note Haffner’s comments on Hitler and the party after the presidential election of 1932.
Note Haffner’s comment on Hitler’s appearance and behaviour. Implications?
Note the circumstances in which Hitler became Chancellor of Germany.
Note the sentiments expressed in Hitler’s radio broadcast of 10 February 1933. Implications?
Note the reaction of the audience.
Note the response of the broader population.

Act 3. 

Note details of the Reichstag fire.
Note the comments of Erich Ebermayer.
Why had people been ‘won over’? Implications?
How did Hitler and the Nazis exploit this event? Result?
Note the comments from Louise Solmitz.
Note the measures introduced to stop the communist ‘threat’.
Note Haffner’s comments and his friend’s ‘doubts’. What didn’t bother them? Implications?
Note the Nazi action against communists. Result?
Note Elizabeth Gebensleben’s comments on the ‘clean up’. Implications?
What is the impact of showing ‘home movies’ mixed with images form the ‘crack down’ on communists?
Note Victor Klemperer’s comments on the ‘barbaric’ acts of the government.
Note the events of 23 March 1933.
Why was the decision made to allow Hitler to consolidate all political power? Result?
Note Haffner’s comments on the ‘people’ and cheering. Implications?

Act 4.

Note the comments of Erich Ebermayer about his Jewish friend’s attitude to Hitler and the Nazis. Implications?
Note Walter Lenger’s home movie of April 1933.
What did this film document? Note Lenger’s ‘cameo’ appearance in his film.
Note the position of the Jewish population of Germany.
Note Haffner’s comments about Jews.
Note the comments from ‘German housewife’. Implications?
Note the comments from Dr Landau. Implications/

Act 5.

Note the comments on children and the ‘revolution’. Implications?
Note the propaganda photos and story of children at play from April 1933. Implications?
Note the contrast between the footage of the Oranienburg ‘Camp’ and the comments from an inmate.
Note the numbers of arrests and deaths in custody in 1933.
Note the story related by Victor Klemperer. Implications?

Act 6.

Note the sentiments of Goebbels on 1 January 1934. Implications?
Which citizens were most welcome in the Nazi regime? Result?
Note the Hartmann ‘home movie’.
Why was the Hartmann family ‘lucky’?
Note details of the Nazi sterilisation program.
Who was forcibly sterilised?
Note the American tourist’s comments on Nazi celebrations. Implications?
Note the oath taken by the German Army on 25 February 1934. Implication?
Note the ‘development’ of Peter Hartmann after he began school.
Why was the ‘Hitler greeting’ used by everyone in public?
Note Victor Klemperer’s comments on ‘fear’. Implications?

Act 7.

Why was the island of Borkum popular with Nazi party members? Implications?
Note details of the annual party rally at Nuremberg in 1934.
Note details of the film Triumph of the Will.
Note the comments of Leni Riefenstahl.
Riefenstahl always denied that this film was propaganda. What do the narrator’s comments suggest? What does Nazi use of the film in schools suggest?
Note the ‘rhyme’ taught in a Dornberg school.
Note Hitler’s comments on the ‘Jewish problem’ on 15 September 1935. Implications?
Note the first ‘laws’ by which Jews were alienated from German society.
Note the audience response.

Act 8.

Note the preparations for the Berlin Olympics in 1936.
Why did Hitler want the ‘world’ to visit Germany?
What impression did the Germans want to give visitors?
What was different t about Germany during this two week period?
Note Victor Klemperer’s comments.
Note the sentiments of Hitler’s opening address.
Note the comments by USA athletes about their treatment in Berlin.
Note the New York Times comments on the impression visitors would take away from Berlin.
Note the successes and failures of the German Olympic Games.
Why had Peter Hartmann joined the Hitler Youth?
Note Hitler’s gift on his 48th birthday.
Why might 10 year old boys want to join the Hitler Youth?
Note details of ‘exercises’ practiced by the squads.
Note how Peter Hartmann was ‘developing’ since joining the Hitler Youth.
Note the Hitler Youth oath of obedience. Implications?

Act 9.

Why were Walter Lenger and his wife ideal citizens of Germany?
Note the details of the Young Maidens’ League.
What was the ‘duty’ of German girls?
Why did girls join the Young Maidens League?
Note the comments from the “16 year old Munich girl”. Implications?
Why did parents tolerate this behaviour?
What was the official government attitude to unmarried mothers? Why?

Act 10.

Note the events in Vienna in March 1938. Implications?
What does use of the Lenger home movie with the over dub of a USA radio broadcast suggest?
Why was the Anschluss with Austria a major step for Hitler?
How did Austrians appear to react?
Note Hitler’s reference to a German ‘Empire’.
How was opposition to Nazism dealt with in Austria?
Note the comments from a “12 year-old Austrian girl”. Implications?
Note the comments by Friedrich Reck-Malleczewn about Germany.
Note the celebrations in Munich in 1938.
Why was Bella Fromm celebrating in Berlin?

Act 11.

Note details of the 72 hour festival of German art in Munich on 9 July 1938.
Note the comments from Ernest Pope about ‘trends’ in German art.
Note details of the concluding procession. Implications?
Note the comments about Hitler’s plans for ‘world conquest’. Evidence for this conclusion?
How did Jews manage to ‘get out’ of Germany?

Act 12.

Note the events of 26 September 1938 in Munich.
What interrupted the festivities?
Note the comment on how the mood of the crowd changed. Implications?
What had Hitler demanded of Czechoslovakia? Why?
What had Hitler threatened as a consequence for refusal?
What was the atmosphere like in Berlin?
How did the German Army respond to the possibility of war?
Note the comments by Ruth Andreas-Friedrich.
Note Bella Fromm’s feelings of guilt.
Note the comments on the 7 year existence of the Third Reich.


Useful, interesting, challenging, books, sources and websites will provide materials to supplement and complement the History presented in the video program.
The data collected here should be used in the notemaking below.

Some useful Internet sites:

World War 1:
World War 2:
Treaty of Versailles:

Adolf Hitler:
German Revolution 1919: Spartacists & Freikorps
1923 Putsch:
Wall Street “Crash”:
Nuremberg Rallies:
Leni Riefenstahl:
National Socialist Workers Party of Germany (NSDAP):
(Use with care)

1932 Presidential Election:,_1932
Election of 1933:,_March_1933
Reichstag Fire:
German Communist Party (KPD):
Weimar Constitution:

Jewish Boycott:
Aktion T-4:
Oath of Allegiance 1934:
The “Jewish Question/Problem”:
(Use with care)
1936 Olympic Games:
Hitler Youth (HJ: Hitler Jugend):
Young Maidens League (BDM: Bund Deutscher Madel):
The “Fuhrer’s Brides”:

1938 Anschluss:
1938 Munich Festival of German Art:

1938 Czechoslovakian Crisis:


This is the collation stage of the activity. Students need to organise the field of information and begin to explore its context.

Directions and /or Inquiry questions are provided for notemaking / summary exercises that will follow the viewing of the video. The materials / data for the summaries have been collected above.

The activity could be done in teams, groups, or by individuals, or as a class with teacher direction.

1. Draw up a timeline / chronological chart of the events described and discussed in this program.

2. Note details of the end of World War1 and the Versailles Treaty.

3. Note details of events in immediate post -war Germany.

4. Note details of the Munich ‘putsch’ of 1923.

5. Note details of the success of the Nazi Party in German elections.

6. Note details of the process by which Hitler became Chancellor of Germany.

7. Note details of the process by which Hitler became “dictator” of Germany.

8. Note details of how political and social opposition was dealt with in Nazi Germany.

9. Note details of the Nazi Party ‘rallies’

10. Note details of the Hitler Youth organisation.

11. Note details of the Young Maidens League.

12. Note details of the sterilisation program of the Nazi Party.

13. Note details of the euthanasia program of the Nazi Party.

14. Note details of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games.

15. Note details of what can be learnt from the various ‘home movies’ used.

16. Note details of the “Jewish Problem” in Germany.

17. Note details of the foreign policy of the Nazi Party.

18. Note details of the events of 1938 in Austria.

19. Note details of the events of 1938 in Czechoslovakia.

20. Note details of how the Nazi regime in Germany was viewed by the rest of the world.


Key issues and inquiry questions that have been raised by the video are addressed at this stage for discussion and research.

1. Why did the Nazi Party achieve considerable electoral support in Germany?

2. Why was Hitler appointed Chancellor of Germany?

3. How was it possible for democracy to be so easily replaced by a “dictatorship”?

4. What were the aims of the various Nazi ‘social’ programs?

5. What impression did the rest of the world have of Nazi Germany?


Questions of reliability and validity of the perspectives, evidence and sources presented in the video program need to be considered, tested and researched.

1. How did ‘ordinary’ Germans view Hitler and the Nazi Party in the 1920s and early 1930s?

2. How was Hitler able to exploit the Reichstag fire? Result?

3. Were the various Nazi ‘social’ programs successful? Why?

4. Were the Nazi Party and its programs ‘popular’ in Germany after 1933? Why?

5. Were the Nazi Party and its programs ‘popular’ elsewhere? Why?


The key issues and inquiry questions are potential topics for debate, essay writing, reports, historical recount and explanation.

1. Write a REPORT on the Hitler Youth movements.

2. Write a REPORT on the Reichstag fire.

3. Prepare notes (both sides) for a DEBATE of the proposition that most Germans welcomed the Nazi Party when it came to power in Germany. 

4. Why did the Nazi Party program appeal to so many Germans in 1933?

5. Explain how the Weimar Republic was replaced by the Nazi Party dictatorship.



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