An Introduction to Daniel Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners

During The Holocaust, were Germans just following orders or did they truly believe they should eradicate the Jewish people? Part of a larger playlist covering ideas from all over the world, a video summary of Daniel Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners suggests that Germans who worked with Hitler willingly participated in The Holocaust. The summary addresses contradictory arguments and provides examples to support Goldhagen's view—a great way to show that every story has two sides.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Discuss the following question: Should those who were simply following orders from Hitler have been punished for their crimes?
  • Conduct research to discover individuals who defied Hitler's orders
Classroom Considerations

  • Assumes a general knowledge of the Holocaust and its effects
Pros

  • Uses a modern-day analogy to help illustrate the author's main point
  • Contains clear narration that plays at an appropriate speed
Cons

  • Pop-up text boxes occasionally appear and distract from the content in the video