Spring 2013 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
Between 1933 and 1945, the Third Reich swept across Europe declaring war on the Jewish communities in every country they occupied during their 12 year reign of terror. As they imposed their death sentence on millions of people by shooting, gassing, and starvation, the Nazis committed atrocities which challenge our ideas about the basic concepts of progress, enlightenment, morality, and freedom. These crimes confront the foundation of Western culture and continue to impact thought in the twenty-first century.
Exploring the historical framework which gave rise to Nazism, it is the purpose of this class to examine the social, political, historical, and cultural contexts in which the Holocaust took place. Constructing our inquiry around two major questions: why did this mass murder happen and how did it run its course, we will study the development and background of ancient religious anti-Semitism, as well as the emergence of nationalism and scientific racism in nineteenth-century Europe. In addition, we will consider the emergence of the modern German state, the First World War, the Depression, Hitler’s creation of the Third Reich, the anti-Jewish laws, the persecution of the European Jews, the implementation of the Holocaust in every country occupied by the Reich, and the moral implications of the mass murder of this group of people. We will also study the ways in which the Holocaust has continued to affect our religious beliefs, our sense of morality, and our notions about government and education, now, and for future generations.
Yehuda Bauer, A History of the Holocaust (Revised Edition) (ISBN: 0-531-11884-3)
Paul Bookbinder, Weimar Germany: The Republic of the Reasonable (ISBN: 978-0719042874)
Simon Wiesenthal, The Sunflower (ISBN: 978-0805210606)
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Course requirements include regular attendance and participation, annotated bibliography, one research paper, and two tests.