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Germany's New Order - 30 credits (HS1832)

Module Tutor: Dr Gerwin Ströbl Strobl, Germanic Isle

Course Description

The political, diplomatic, military and socio-economic history of the Third Reich. The course seeks to produce an understanding of the nature and aims of one of the two principal totalitarian dictatorships in twentieth-century history. It begins with the structures and governing principles of the regime, examines the preparations for war at all levels of German national life, which leads naturally to the phase of rapid expansion in 1938/39. After considering the Blitzkrieg period and Nazi planning for war in the East, the term ends with an analysis of the origins and execution of Nazi genocide. The second term considers the fate of the Reich’s new European Schicksalsgemeinschaft – the allies and satellites as well as the occupied countries and territories. Attention then returns to the Reich itself to consider the issues of popular support for the regime, of Nazi modernisation and the motivation of German forces on the Eastern front. The final phase of Nazi rule is reflected in the question of German resistance, the crumbling of the regime and the fate of the German people in the East. The course concludes by considering the Third Reich’s legacy.  

Credits: 30

Availability of module: Every Year


Necessary for

Teaching methods

A range of teaching methods will be used in each of the sessions of the course, comprising a combination of lectures, seminar discussion of major issues and workshops for the study of primary source material. The syllabus is divided into a series of major course themes, then sub-divided into principal topics for the study of each theme.

The aim of the lectures is to provide a brief introduction to a particular topic, establishing the salient features of major course themes, identifying key issues and providing historiographical guidance. The lectures aim to provide a basic framework for understanding and should be thought of as useful starting points for further discussion and individual study. Where appropriate, handouts and other materials may be distributed to reinforce the material discussed.

Seminar and Source Workshops:
The primary aim of the sessions will be to generate debate and discussion amongst course participants, focused in particular on primary source material. Seminars and source workshops for each of the course topics will provide an opportunity for students:
(a) to discuss topics or issues introduced by the lectures,
or (b) to discuss related themes, perhaps not directly addressed by the lectures, but drawing on ideas culled from those lectures.
and (c) to analyse different types of primary sources available, discussing the principal ways in which they can be used by historians.

Seminars and source workshops will provide the student with guidance on how to critically approach the various types of primary source material. Preparation for seminars and workshops will focus on specific items from the sources and related background reading, with students preparing answers to questions provided for each session. Both seminars and source workshops will provide an opportunity to discuss and debate the issues with fellow students. Classes will be divided into smaller groups for discussion purposes, with the results presented as part of an overall class debate at the end of the session.


Students will be assessed by means of a combination of one essay relating to primary sources [20%], an assessed essay [30%] and an examination paper [50%].

Course assignments:

The Assessed Essay relating to primary sources will contribute 20% of the final mark for the module and must be no longer than 1,000 words.

The Assessed Essay will contribute 30% of the final mark for the module. It is designed to give students the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to review evidence, draw appropriate conclusions from it and employ the formal conventions of scholarly presentation. It must be no longer than 2,000 words.

The Examination will take place during the second assessment period [May/June] and will consist of an unseen two hour paper that will contribute the remaining 50% of the final mark for this module. Students must write 2 answers in total.

Summary of course content

The course will cover a wide range of topics including:
Recent Historiography
‘Racial Hygiene’
Antisemitism and the Holocaust
Military and Strategic Planning
‘Colonial’ Warfare
Occupation and Resistance
‘Flucht’ und ‘Vertreibung’

Learning outcomes

  • demonstrate a comprehensive critical understanding of such concepts as Führerprinzip, Volksgemeinschaft, etc.
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of certain primary sources and their significance.
  • apply that understanding of the nature of primary sources and their significance.
  • elucidate and evaluate the relative merits of a range of interpretations relevant to particular issues.
  • formulate and justify their own arguments and conclusions.
  • demonstrate an ability to modify as well as to defend their own position.
  • present their analyses clearly and concisely both in written and oral answers.

Skills that will be practised and developed

Students will extend their ability to:

  • formulate and justify their own arguments and conclusions in seminar discussions.
  • communicate ideas and arguments effectively, with supporting evidence, in class discussion and in writing
  • modify as well and defend their own position.
  • think critically and challenge assumptions
  • use information technology for research and assignment presentation.
  • manage their time and organise their own study methods and workload.
  • work effectively with others as part of a team or group in seminar or tutorial discussions

Suggested preparatory reading

Useful Introductions:
Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich: A History. London 2000
Neil Gregor, ed., Nazism. Oxford 2000
Neil Gregor, Nazism, War and Genocide. Exeter 2005
Ian Kershaw, Hitler. 2 vols. London 2000
Ian Kershaw, The Hitler Myth. Oxford 2000
Ian Kershaw, The Nazi Dictatorship. London 2000
Nicholas Stargardt, Children’s Lives under the Nazis. London 2006
Gerwin Strobl, The Germanic Isle: Nazi Perceptions of Britain. Cambridge 2000
Gerwin Strobl, The Swastika and the Stage: German Theatre and Society. Cambridge 2007
Adam Tooze, The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy. London 2007.
Rainer Zittelmann, Hitler: The Policies of Seduction. London 1999
Viktor Klemperer, I shall bear witness. London 1998
Viktor Klemperer, To the Bitter End. London 1999
Detlev Mühlberger, ed., Hitler’s Voice: the Völkische Beobachter. Vol 2. Oxford 2004
Hugh Trevor Roper, ed., Hitler’s Table Talk. London 2000
J. Noakes, ed., Nazism: a Documentary Reader. 4 vols. Exeter 2004