module specification

SS6079 - The Holocaust 1933-1945 (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title The Holocaust 1933-1945
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 150
105 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 60%   2,000 word essay
Coursework 40%   1,000 word review
Running in 2018/19

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module explores the origins of Nazism’s racial and genocidal policies during the Second World War, how they were implemented, and the political, bureaucratic and psychological mechanisms which made mass murder possible. It examines the Jewish response to persecution and annihilation, the experience of gypsies and other victims of Nazi aggression, and the wider responsibility for the Holocaust. Finally the unit focuses on changing perceptions of the Holocaust since 1945, its place in contemporary culture and problems of historical interpretation.

Module aims

  1. to familiarise students with the nature of the Nazi dictatorship and the history of the Holocaust
  2. to introduce students to the limitations of the historical sources in explaining the Holocaust and the different historical interpretations which are in part a result of these limitations
  3. to encourage students to think critically about the nature of historical study and how it might be complemented by literary, artistic, philosophical or theological approaches
  4. to encourage students to understand the significance of context in judging moral and ethical choices
  5. to encourage communication skills in written and oral contexts


European anti-Jewish hatred and the rise of modern anti-Semitism
Hitler, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and Nazi Ideology
The Nazi state and the origins of the ‘Final Solution’
Jewish responses to persecution in the 1930s
The so-called ‘euthanasia programme’ against the handicapped
The impact of the Second World War and the campaigns against Poland and the USSR
The ghettos and the role of the Jewish Councils
The Einsatzgruppen and the mass shootings
The death camps and the systematization of murder
The extent of involvement: the perpetrators and their allies
Jewish experiences in Europe: victims and survivors
The persecution of gypsies and homosexuals
Wider publics: the role of ordinary Germans and Europeans
The responses of the British and U.S. governments, neutral countries and world Jewry
Historical explanation and the Holocaust
The Holocaust in contemporary culture since 1945

Learning and teaching

Students will be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars, supplemented by material available on Weblearn and in-class tasks focused on primary sources.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

  1. understand the complexity of the Holocaust as a central problem in German and European history
  2. demonstrate an ability to identify, analyse and evaluate different kinds of historical explanation as applied to the Holocaust
  3. demonstrate awareness of the importance and the limitations of historical study of the Holocaust, and recognise the validity of interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary approaches in increasing our understanding
  4. appreciate the difficulties in making moral and ethical evaluations in the context of a coercive environment
  5. demonstrate skills of expression, analysis and criticism in a written context

Assessment strategy

Formative: occasional short written responses to questions or documents arising from the respective week’s focus;
Summative: a 2000 word essay engaging with the history of the Holocaust and how it is interpreted; a critical review of a book or film.


Bauer, Y. (1982)  A History of the Holocaust, New York: Franklin Watts.
Bergen, D. (2009)  War and Genocide. A concise history of the Holocaust, Maryland: Rowland and Little.
Browning, C. (2001) Ordinary Men, London:  Penguin.
Burleigh, M. and Wippermann, W. (1991)  The Racial State. Germany 1933-1945, Cambridge,: Cambridge University Press.
Burrin, P. (1994)  Hitler and the Jews. The Genesis of the Holocaust , London: Hodder Arnold.
Ceserani, D. (ed.) (1994)  The Final Solution. Origins and Implementation, London: Routledge.
Friedlander, H. (1995)  The Origins of Nazi Genocide. From Euthanasia to the Final Solution, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press
Friedländer, S. (1997)  Nazi Germany and the Jews. The Years of Persecution1933-1939, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
Friedländer, S. (2007)  Nazi Germany and the Jews. The Years of Extermination 1939-1945, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson
Hilberg, R. (1985) The Destruction of the European Jews, New York: Holmes and Meier
Kaplan, M. (1985)  Between Dignity and Despair. Jewish Life in Nazi Germany, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Levi, P. (1997) If This is a Man, London: Abacus.
Lewy, G. (2000)  The Nazi Persecution of the Gypsies , Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lindemann, A. (2000) Antisemitism before the Holocaust, London: Routledge.
Marrus, M. (1989)  The Holocaust in History, London: Penguin.
Rubenstein, R. and Roth, J. (1987)  Approaches to Auschwitz , Atlanta: SCM Press.
Schleunes, K. (1990) The Twisted Road to Auschwitz , Illinois: University of Illinois Press
Spiegelmann, A.  (2003) The Complete Maus, London: Penguin.