World War 2

Parker, Second World War Ch. 1, “Hitler, Germany, and the Origins of the European War,” pages 1–20

Bess, Choices Under Fire Ch. 3, “Causes of the War in Europe: The Paradoxical Legacy of Munich,” pages 58–75

Essay 1:

Your task here is a difficult one as it requires delving into the Nazi psyche through an examination and analysis of of Nazi political propaganda. There is perhaps no better way of really understanding who the Nazis were, or what they believed, than looking directly at how they portrayed themselves to the German public. They were, in many cases, quite straight-forward. Understand it will be disturbing. However, it was all good propaganda at the time in the sense that it communicated a powerful message that resonated emotionally with the masses. Goebbels was a master of his craft. Having read Michael Bess’s introduction, you hopefully have a better understanding of the importance of race to the Nazi worldview, and to World War II in general. The Nazis also connected this racial outlook to failed governmental economic policies, especially in the lead-up to the seizure of power in 1932-33. In this short essay, please go to the website listed above in Optional Resources:  ( and review one or several pieces (depending on length, preferably ones with some visual content) of Nazi propaganda  from the “Pre-1933 Material,” that is, material distributed before they came to power. Whole books and courses can be taught on Nazism. It is important here, with this essay, to establish what issues the Nazis exploited to connect with the German people. What were common themes? Who or what did they attack or blame for Germany’s ills? What forms (speeches, newspaper pieces, broadsides, cartoons) did they use, and why? What types of images or artwork did they use to convey a message? What hopes did they stir, and how?  You’ll have to browse a bit. Goebbels’ newspaper pieces from Der Angriff are good in this regard, but mostly lacking in graphics. Pamphlets and posters especially from the early 1930s are effective as well. The Nazis appealed to different groups using different tactics: farmers and rural people, industrial workers, the lower middle classes and civil servants. Keep this in mind when analyzing a particular item. Again, be descriptive, and use quotes to hit your points.

Essay 2:

Evaluate the Munich conference of 1938. What did it accomplish? What did it fail to prevent? What were the issues at stake and the motivations and rationales of the key political figures involved? Be sure to evaluate the political positions of Chamberlain and Daladier at the time. How does Michael Bess view the event? How could it have turned out different?

Each Essay should be of 2 pages and no more than 3 pages double spaced.

link to refer in 1st essay: