This experience is optimized for Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

Please upgrade your browser

Send the Gift of Lifelong Learning!

History of Hitler's Empire, 2nd Edition

History of Hitler's Empire, 2nd Edition

Professor Thomas Childers
University of Pennsylvania

Gifting Information

FAQ
FAQ

To send your gift, please complete the form below. An email will be sent immediately to notify the recipient of your gift and provide them with instructions to redeem it.

  • 500 characters remaining.

Frequently Asked Questions

With an eGift, you can instantly send a Great Course to a friend or loved one via email. It's simple:
1. Find the course you would like to eGift.
2. Under "Choose a Format", click on Video Download or Audio Download.
3. Click 'Send e-Gift'
4. Fill out the details on the next page. You will need to the email address of your friend or family member.
5. Proceed with the checkout process as usual.
Q: Why do I need to specify the email of the recipient?
A: We will send that person an email to notify them of your gift. If they are already a customer, they will be able to add the gift to their My Digital Library and mobile apps. If they are not yet a customer, we will help them set up a new account so they can enjoy their course in their My Digital Library or via our free mobile apps.
Q: How will my friend or family member know they have a gift?
A: They will receive an email from The Great Courses notifying them of your eGift. The email will direct them to TheGreatCourses.com. If they are already a customer, they will be able to add the gift to their My Digital Library and mobile apps. If they are not yet a customer, we will help them set up a new account so they can enjoy their course in their My Digital Library or via our free mobile apps.
Q: What if my friend or family member does not receive the email?
A: If the email notification is missing, first check your Spam folder. Depending on your email provider, it may have mistakenly been flagged as spam. If it is not found, please email customer service at (customerservice@thegreatcourses.com) or call 1-800-832-2412 for assistance.
Q: How will I know they have received my eGift?
A: When the recipient clicks on their email and redeems their eGift, you will automatically receive an email notification.
Q: What if I do not receive the notification that the eGift has been redeemed?
A: If the email notification is missing, first check your Spam folder. Depending on your email provider, it may have mistakenly been flagged as spam. If it is not found, please email customer service at (customerservice@thegreatcourses.com) or call customer service at 1-800-832-2412 for assistance.
Q: I don't want to send downloads. How do I gift DVDs or CDs?
A: eGifting only covers digital products. To purchase a DVD or CD version of a course and mail it to a friend, please call customer service at 1-800-832-2412 for assistance. Physical gifting can still be achieved online – can we describe that here and not point folks to call?
Q: Oops! The recipient already owns the course I gifted. What now?
A: Great minds think alike! We can exchange the eGifted course for another course of equal value. Please call customer service at 1-800-832-2412 for assistance.
Q: Can I update or change my email address?
A: Yes, you can. Go to My Account to change your email address.
Q: Can I select a date in the future to send my eGift?
A: Sorry, this feature is not available yet. We are working on adding it in the future.
Q: What if the email associated with eGift is not for my regular Great Course account?
A: Please please email customer service at (customerservice@thegreatcourses.com) or call our customer service team at 1-800-832-2412 for assistance. They have the ability to update the email address so you can put in your correct account.
Q: When purchasing a gift for someone, why do I have to create an account?
A: This is done for two reasons. One is so you can track the purchase of the order in your ‘order history’ section as well as being able to let our customer service team track your purchase and the person who received it if the need arises.
Q: Can I return or Exchange a gift after I purchase it?
A: Because the gift is sent immediately, it cannot be returned or exchanged by the person giving the gift. The recipient can exchange the gift for another course of equal or lesser value, or pay the difference on a more expensive item
Video title

Priority Code

Cancel
History of Hitler's Empire, 2nd Edition

History of Hitler's Empire, 2nd Edition

Professor Thomas Childers, Ph.D.
University of Pennsylvania
Course No.  805
Course No.  805
Video or Audio?
While this set works well in both audio and video format, one or more of the courses in this set feature graphics to enhance your learning experience, including illustrations, images of people and event, and on-screen text.
Which Format Should I Choose? Video Download Audio Download DVD CD
Watch or listen immediately with FREE streaming
Available on most courses
Stream using apps on your iPad, iPhone, Android, or Kindle Fire
Available on most courses
Stream to your internet connected PC or laptop
Available on most courses
Download files for offline viewing or listening
Receive DVDs or CDs for your library
Play as many times as you want
All formats include Free Streaming
All formats include Free Streaming

Course Overview

About This Course

12 lectures  |  31 minutes per lecture

Know thy enemy. That's what the wisdom of history teaches us. And Adolf Hitler was surely the greatest enemy ever faced by modern civilization. Over half a century later, the horror and fascination still linger. No one is better able to explain the unexplainable about this man and his movement than Professor Thomas Childers. In these lectures, you will see what great teaching is all about.

Two Crucial Questions

Professor Childers has designed this course to answer two burning questions that have nagged generations for decades, ever since Hitler and Nazism were destroyed.

1) How could a man like Adolf Hitler and a movement like Nazism come to power in 20th-century Germany? An industrially developed country with a highly educated population, it lies within the very heart of Western Europe.

View More

Know thy enemy. That's what the wisdom of history teaches us. And Adolf Hitler was surely the greatest enemy ever faced by modern civilization. Over half a century later, the horror and fascination still linger. No one is better able to explain the unexplainable about this man and his movement than Professor Thomas Childers. In these lectures, you will see what great teaching is all about.

Two Crucial Questions

Professor Childers has designed this course to answer two burning questions that have nagged generations for decades, ever since Hitler and Nazism were destroyed.

1) How could a man like Adolf Hitler and a movement like Nazism come to power in 20th-century Germany? An industrially developed country with a highly educated population, it lies within the very heart of Western Europe.

2) How were the Nazis able to establish the foundations of a totalitarian regime in such a short time and hurl all of Europe—and the world—into a devastating war that would consume so many millions of lives?

And the answers lead us to other questions:

  • Who voted for the Nazis and why?
  • How did the Nazis campaign?
  • What did they seem to stand for?
  • Why was there apparently so little resistance to them?
  • What made the regime popular at home?
  • How were Nazis able to seize control of the press, radio, courts, and police with so little trouble?
  • Can it happen again?
  • How can we make sure that it doesn't?
  • How did it all begin?

You start by exploring the catastrophic impact of World War I on Germany and how the war and the humiliating Treaty of Versailles crippled the Weimar Republic.

The Repercussions of the Versailles Treaty in Germany

Until the very end of World War I, despite enormous casualties in trench warfare and great sacrifices on the home front, Germany had appeared to be winning.

Then in November 1918, the roof suddenly caved in. To the shock of many Germans, Germany lost the war.

The new democratic government, the Weimar Republic, was forced by the victorious Allies to sign a humiliating treaty and begin its political life carrying a staggering burden. That treaty resulted in widened political divisions in German society, and created a setting for extreme nationalist movements to thrive.

There were short-term factors that contributed in Hitler's rise to power:

  • Grave economic problems confronted the Weimar government on which Hitler and his minions fed: chaotic hyperinflation of 1923, harsh stabilization of 1924, and the Great Depression
  • Deep cleavages—religious divisions, lingering regional loyalties, and growing social or class tensions—made nation-building in the new Germany difficult
  • The innovative modern campaign techniques Nazis used to exploit the economic hardships of the day: the first use in politics of exit polls, radio appeal, and use of aircraft by a candidate
  • The German voters who found the Nazis appealing.

Hitler in Power: The Third Reich

The second half of the course deals with the Third Reich—Nazism in power. These lectures answer the question of how President Hindenburg came to name Hitler as chancellor in January 1933, at a time when Nazi appeal was waning.

And they show how Hitler and his henchmen began systematically and ruthlessly breaking resistance, taking over the major institutions of state power and creating a totalitarian system of terror, propaganda, and pervasive regimentation.

Hitler's Wars: Why and How?

By 1935, with power now firmly in Nazi hands, the ideological core of the National Socialist movement began to reveal itself.

Professor Childers anatomizes Hitler's horrifying racial ideas and the policies adopted to transform those ideas into reality. He describes the Nazis' mounting repression of the Jewish population and the role of the SS in shaping and enforcing those amoral policies.

Hitler as Global Chess Player

Professor Childers next discusses Hitler's conduct of foreign policy between 1933 and 1939.

You will learn how Hitler outmaneuvered the apprehensive Western European powers and how and why he puzzled the world by entering into an accommodation with his deadly enemy, Stalin, on the eve of World War II.

You see why the Munich agreement was such an important turning point—the seeming triumph of National Socialism on the world stage.

The "Final Solution"

In his closing lectures, Professor Childers focuses on Hitler's war against the Jews from Mein Kampf to Auschwitz.

Hitler's war was not a traditional geopolitical conflict, not a grab for land and resources; it was a racial war as well. It is revealed most obviously in the ideological war against the Soviet Union.

Part of Hitler's motivating vision was to eliminate the enemy, the "Judeo-Bolshevist conspiracy." This meant not only a war of annihilation of the Soviet Union, it also meant the destruction of the European Jewish community.

Professor Childers shows how Hitler conducted his war against the Jews to the very end and how, after so much death and destruction, his evil empire itself was destroyed by Allied might.

View Less
12 Lectures
  • 1
    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? x
  • 2
    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. x
  • 3
    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. x
  • 4
    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. x
  • 5
    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. x
  • 6
    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? x
  • 7
    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." x
  • 8
    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? x
  • 9
    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. x
  • 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. x
  • 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." x
  • 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." x

Lecture Titles

Clone Content from Your Professor tab

Your professor

Thomas Childers
Thomas Childers, Ph.D.
University of Pennsylvania

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.”

View More information About This Professor
Also By This Professor
View All Courses By This Professor

Reviews

Rated 4.3 out of 5 by 194 reviewers.
Rated 5 out of 5 by Help with the mystery This review is from the perspective of someone who has not read deeply about the Nazi takeover of Germany, but who has always wondered what possessed the German people to let it happen, and how other countries can prevent something similar. Prof. Childress is clear, organized, and dispassionate even when he's describing the unspeakable. He examines exactly the point that I wanted most to hear about: how perfectly ordinary people in a civilized society could have let this monster take control, and how it was that they couldn't stop him before he'd delivered their country and half the world into ruin. Without ever excusing Hitler or his enablers, he makes clear what choices the Germans thought they were facing, how the Nazis could at least briefly win their support, and how they leveraged that temporary and partial support into sudden, total power. I was riveted to all twelve lectures and wanted more. October 7, 2013
Rated 4 out of 5 by Not enough into the how This is a decent course and I enjoyed it over the course of a 12 hour round trip drive last weekend. My only problem is that it goes too much into the general history of the Nazi rise and fall, which I have already heard from other lectures. While he did go into a good bit on how a whole culture of people got slowly sucked into the anti-Semitic view of the Nazi's, I wanted more on how the individual solider for instance, who was not necessarily an evil person, was transformed into someone capable of committing atrocities. What happened to the Germans who did stand up and such. April 16, 2015
Rated 2 out of 5 by OK Information, Mediocre/Poor Presentation My father was in WWII and so I grew up hearing about the war, Germany, the Nazis and Hitler. I was looking forward to gaining some insight into why such an intelligent people (the Germans) could and would allow someone like Hitler to come to power and more importantly, how he could be supported and get away with the atrocities that he committed. Not only how could the Germans let it happen - but also - how could the rest of the civilized world let it happen. The lecture did provide some insight into this - but it was PAINFUL getting there. The presenter was one of the poorest I've ever encountered. I've never listened to anyone - let alone a "professional" who used so many "a's", "ah's", "um's", and pauses to gather his thoughts. He also used his notes a lot. This was not what I expected after hearing the accolades that this man has garnered over the years. It was a struggle to get through each of the 20 minutes of information in the 30 minute lectures. Also, the graphics were almost non-existent! Why? There is truly a wealth of archival photographic history and evidence concerning this topic - yet almost none was shown during the presentation. Instead, we were forced to watch this man who lectures without emotion or enthusiasm - most of the time. I was a professional presenter for many years and also listened to many presenters, professors, and business leaders and this guy is probably the worst I've ever encountered. I've listened to two other "Great Courses" and both of the presenters were much better - more enthusiastic, more voice inflection, no obvious use of notes, lots of graphics, and more... If you want to learn more about Hitler, I would suggest alternate avenues. April 11, 2015
Rated 5 out of 5 by An Objective History of Hitler's Life and War Prof. Thomas Childers gets to the point of his course quickly and never moves off track. He deals with Hitler objectively and without emotion while showing the man's charisma, deception, and absolute hatred of the Jews leading to the Holocaust. The course also points out how Hitler's overblown ego was the cause of horrendous military and cultural decisions, and lays the dictator's initial popularity to his mesmerizing speaking ability. My wife and I appreciated having our perspectives extended far beyond what we already knew. April 9, 2015
  • 2015-05-25T15:28:47.980-05:00
  • bvseo_lps, prod_bvrr, vn_prr_5.6
  • cp-1, bvpage1
  • co_hasreviews, tv_194, tr_194
  • loc_en_US, sid_805, prod, sort_default
2 3 4 5 ... 7 next>>

Questions & Answers