The Physical and Political Geography of Germany lies at the heart of many of the issues that arose during the Weimar and Nazi periods. Pupils understanding of the context and emotion involved in many of these events can be enhanced dramatically through the use of a variety of maps of Germany.
Political borders of Germany 1789 to 2005
The video above provides a clear visualisation of the way in which German borders and its relationship with its neighbours have changed over the years. It’s a good starting point for a course on Weimar and Nazi Germany: how has Germany changed in terms of its landmass? What are the implications of these changes? How would ordinary Germans react to the changes? When would Germany feel stronger, or weaker and how would that impact on political decisions?
There are, of course, several tried and tested ways of using Maps when teaching Weimar and Nazi Germany. The impact of the Treaty of Versailles is easily illustrated through use of an annotated map such as the one at the foot of this page on JohnDClare.net.
Other areas can be enhanced through use of maps as well. For example these two maps, through from the post war period, can be used to provide pupils with stimulus materials when discussing the issues relating to the Ruhr and Saarland.
And this one, illustrating the location of German Industry:
It’s also possible to use Maps as exercises to raise levels of engagement. Using Google Earth as a mechanism for a geographical timeline of the era is quite possible, as is inserting layers to illustrate key locations, dates etc.
One last suggestion based on maps is to make use of Russel Tarr’s MapGame. As a quick example of places that could be used and to show how the activity works I’ve entered 10 fairly easy location based questions into the template – it can be seen via this link.