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Igniting The Holocaust - Facing History and Ourselves: The Third Reich Begins

This LibGuide takes 5th grade students through the human behavior and historical events that precipitated WWII. It is based on the first 3 steps of the Facing History & Ourselves process and is designed to be used as a supplement to classroom discussion.

Adolf Hitler

In 1933, Hitler became Chancellor of Germany.  Chancellor was not an elected position.  Hitler was appointed by President Hindenburg, a political opponent who thought that he could calm and control Hitler.  Hindenburg was incorrect.  


Within weeks of taking office, Adolf Hitler was altering German life. Within a year, Joseph Goebbels, one of his top aides, could boast:  "The revolution that we have made is a total revolution. It encompasses every aspect of public life from the bottom up… We have replaced individuality with collective racial consciousness and the individual with the community…"  
-- from Facing History

In fact, about a year and a half later, President Hindenburg, who was elderly, died.  After the President's death, Hitler combined the offices of President and Chancellor -- named himself the Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor, the Head of State, and the Chief of Armed Forces -- and took total control of Germany. 

Reflect -- In your journal, respond to this quote by answering the following questions:

  • In the quote above, Goebbels boasts about replacing individuality with a "collective racial consciousness."  He seems to think that this is a good thing.  Do you?  Why or why not?
  • What do you think would happen if an appointed government leader in our country decided to make himself a dictator?  How would the people of the United States respond?  

The Beginning of the Nazi Regime

Click the "Play" button to watch a video about Hitler and the Nazi Party taking power in 1933.


(You will need to sign into Safari to view the video; if you need help, ask your teacher or your librarian.)


In your journal, make a list of questions you're beginning to have about Nazi Germany and WWII.