7 Contemporary sources of opinion about Nazi Germany

Nazi Germany

Contemporary and Primary Sources about the Nazi State provide an opportunity to see how the ‘big picture’ affected the ordinary person. They provide alternative viewpoints about different aspects of Life in Nazi Germany and offer insights into the opinion at the time and immediately preceding events that we now know a lot more about.

  • The National Archives have an exercise that uses Contemporary sources to assess whether Hitler was a ‘Passionate Lunatic’. The sources have been carefully selected to provide a variety of interpretations and, as usual with the National Archives, they are supported with a pupil friendly narrative, tasks and notes for teachers.
  • Diarists such as Victor Klemperer provide a really good overview of how even small changes could havea ┬ábig impact. You can find a biography of Klemperer on the Spartacus Encyclopedia, or follow the link below to see further details of how to purchase a copy of his diary.


  • The Paperless Archive has a rather different Diary to that of Klemperer. This one is the Diary of Hitler’s Headquarters, including the diarists own observations. The archive also includes observations by US Military personnel.
  • This one is very much something to keep an eye out for. In September the Daily Mail reported that a film made during 1933 by an American tourist has been uncovered in a Belgian archive. It, according to the report, has been digitally remastered and will be shown in public. I’m hoping it will then be made available for sale or online.
  • The New York Times has a section of its website that is dedicated to reports about Hitler and the nazi Party. Articles are a combination of contemporary accounts and more recent commentary and analysis.
  • EuroDocs contains all sorts of source material. Some is simply copies of speeches and proclamations, other information relates to foreign views about Germany and Nazi policy.
  • The last suggestion in this post is the rather well known cartoonist, David Low. His work provides a clear, external, take on Hitler and his regime that is highly usable within the classroom.

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