A History of Hitler's Empire, 2nd Edition
Dr. Thomas Childers is Sheldon and Lucy Hackney Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has been teaching for over 25 years. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Tennessee and his Ph.D. in History from Harvard University.
Professor Childers has held visiting professorships at Trinity Hall College, Cambridge, Smith College, and Swarthmore College. He is a popular lecturer abroad as well, in London, Oxford, Berlin, and Munich.
Professor Childers has won several teaching awards, including the Ira T. Abrahms Award for Distinguished Teaching and Challenging Teaching in the Arts and Sciences, the Richard S. Dunn Award for Distinguished Teaching in History, and the Senior Class Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
Professor Childers is the author and editor of several books on modern German history and the Second World War. He is currently completing a trilogy on the Second World War. The first volume, Wings of Morning: The Story of the Last American Bomber Shot Down over Germany in World War II, was praised by Jonathan Yardley in The Washington Post as "a powerful and unselfconsciously beautiful book."
01: The Third Reich, Hitler, and the 20th Century
Why is it important to study the Nazi movement? What was it about the political context of post-WWI Europe and Germany that allowed an extremist group which, at its start, had just a handful of members, to take over the country in less than 15 years' time?
02: The First World War and Its Legacy
After suffering terrible losses and hearing constantly from their rulers that they would win, Germans-and none more so than a wounded Austrian-born volunteer soldier named Adolf Hitler-were shocked by the Armistice of 1918 and the harsh Versailles Treaty that followed.
03: The Weimar Republic and the Rise of the Nazi Party
Examine the problems that beset Germany's new democratic government after WWI, and trace the origins of the tiny National Socialist party and Hitler's emergence as its leader between 1919 and the "Beer Hall Putsch" of November 1923.
04: The Twenties and the Great Depression
The late '20s were politically quiet but economically harsh years for Germany. The Nazi party focused on winning members and votes but remained stuck on the fringe of German politics.
05: The Nazi Breakthrough
The economic crisis from 1929 to 1932 enabled Nazism to thrust itself into the mainstream. Using a revolutionary strategy of perpetual campaigning and other new techniques, the Nazis became Germany's largest political party with 38 percent of the vote.
06: Hitler's Assumption of Power
The November 1932 elections showed signs that the Nazi voter coalition was unraveling. How, then, did Hitler get appointed chancellor in early 1933? How did he consolidate the bases of Nazi power once in office?
07: Racial Policy and the Totalitarian State
The events of the first two years after Hitler took power can be seen as the prelude to worse terrors to come, this time aimed not at possible political opponents, but at those considered to be racial or social "undesirables."
08: Hitler's Foreign Policy
Why is it not enough to think of Hitler simply as a "madman bent on world domination"? What were his aims and strategy, and how did they drive the world rapidly toward global war?
09: Munich and the Triumph of National Socialism
This lecture covers the stunning advance of the Nazi regime beginning with the Munich Agreement of 1938. Hitler swallowed Czechoslovakia, signed a cynical pact with Stalin, invaded Poland, and stood on the verge of becoming master of the European continent.
10: War in the West, War in the East
To Hitler, the brutal war against the "Judeo-Bolshevik" Soviet Union, unleashed on June 22, 1941, was always the main event. On his western flank, however, Churchill's Britain remained unbroken and defiant, and America was slowly coming to her aid.
11: Holocaust-Hitler's War Against the Jews
Between 1939 and 1942, the Nazis pursued several options regarding what they called "the Jewish question." In late 1941, they finally opted for what they called "the final solution." It called for mass murder hidden behind a program of fictive "resettlement in the east."
12: The Final Solution
Here you examine the later stages of the Nazi murder campaign, asking also what the Allies knew and what they did. The lecture and the course close with the final destruction of the Third Reich, and a reflection on the lessons to be drawn from this chapter in what Churchill called "the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime."