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Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Advanced Placement Modern European History

- Advanced Placement European History -
Class Activities / Simulations

Holocaust - The Trial of Adolf Hitler

Few individuals in history have evoked the interest, fear or contempt as has the German dictator Adolf Hitler. His rise to power during the 1920s and 1930s, his authoritarian Nazi Germany, and his prosecution of World War II have all made him an intriguing study in power politics and megalomania.However, it is Hitler's racial policies and his persecution of ethnic minorities, in particular Europe's Jewish population, that have made one of histories most notorious figures.

Adolf Hitler

This activity is intended to allow students to explore first hand the Holocaust that occurred in Europe from 1939-1945 and to determine the level of personal responsibility Adolf Hitler bears for the systematic murder of more than 6 million people.

This activity is intended to:

introduce students to the basic facts of the Holocaust.

allow students to explore the primary sources, documents and other sources of information relevant to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust during World War II.

develop student research skills and skills relating to the interpretation, analysis and use of primary and secondary source documents.

provide students the opportunity to role play characters in a trial setting to determine Hitler's personal responsibility for the Holocaust.

Two weeks total time, one week to provide basic background and classroom instruction and one week for preparation for and conducting the simulation trial. In addition students will be expected to work as needed outside of class.

The student instructions for the simulation "Trial of Adolf Hitler" and relevant documents. (See additional handouts).

In addition, because this assignment is intended to both educate students about the Holocaust and enhance their research and analytical skills a wide variety of materials may be used including documents, video material, photographs etc. available to them through their school media center and other sources. (Please see additional handouts for basic material needs and ideas.).

Through general course work students should be fully aware of the following:

World War I and the terms of the Versailles Treaty

the inter-war years and Germany's failed Weimar Republic

the origins and basic political and racial philosophy of National Socialism

general background on anti-Semitism in the context of European history

appeal of Nazism within the historical context of Germany

Hitler and Nazism's rise to power in and during the 1930s

significant political/racial policies and events leading up to 1939

introductory information about World War II and the Holocaust

Students will be making a detailed study and presentation on the myriad events, issues and opinions regrading the implementation of the "Final Solution of the Jewish question" and resulting Holocaust during World War II.


Day 1
Students will draw roles that include the five-member tribunal, two-member prosecution and defense teams, the defendant Adolf Hitler, and witnesses for both the prosecution and defense. (Depending on the size of the class adjustments may need to be made in the number of witnesses assigned to the prosecution and defense teams or a decision may be made to go with a trial by a jury.)

General instructions will be distributed to and reviewed with the class. Special instructions for members of each team will also be handed out (i.e. judges, attorneys, witnesses). The teams should then establish more specific roles for all students to assume and research (i.e. nationality of justices, character / roles of witnesses, role of prosecutors / defense attorneys, etc.).

Days 2-3
Students will be separated into three separate teams (justices, prosecution and witnesses, defense, defendant and witnesses) and allowed two full class periods to work with prepared documents and conduct basic research about the Holocaust.

Day 4
Prosecution and defense teams make available general case outlines to each other and make defendant and witnesses available for simple interviews by the opposing team. Justices may sit in on these sessions. This step is intended to allow each team some opportunity to anticipate the strategy / tactics to be pursued in the course of the simulation trial and develop simple counter attacks.

Day 5
Students conduct the simulated trial of Adolf Hitler in class. All additional assignments are due the day of the simulation trial.

The day after the simulation trial, students will be debriefed as to the specific roles they played, the general conduct of the trial, salient issues raised by the prosecution and/or defense, and the overall impact the activity had on their knowledge/understanding of Hitler, Nazism and the Holocaust.

The following may be helpful in developing background information:


Bullock, Alan. Hitler: A Study in Tyranny. Harper and Rowe. 1971. (An extremely complete and informative biography of Adolf Hitler, Bullock examines the early life and political career of the most infamous dictator of the twentieth century. Special attention is given to the evolution of Hitler's political and racial philosophies and psychological make-up of the man who led Germany and the world into the most destructive war in human history.)

Gilbert, Martin. The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War. Henry Holt and Co. 1985. (Martin Gilbert has written a definitive history of the Holocaust that occurred in Europe between the years 1933 and 1945. Calling on sources from German documents to personal accounts of participants and survivors, he chronicles the development of the persecution and extermination of European Jewery. though difficult to read, this book offers perhaps the most complete history of the attempted destruction of an entire people.)

Sher, Linda. South Carolina Voices: Lessons from the Holocaust. South Carolina Department of Education. 1992. (Linda Sher draws on a wealth of information to provide a comprehensive view and valuable lessons on the Nazi attempt to exterminate Europe's Jewish population during the 1930s and 1940s. Using a wide variety of personal accounts of active participants and Jewish survivors, Sher creates effective lessons that will help students develop a sense of the enormous tragedy that was the Holocaust.)

Possible Video Presentations
Night and Fog World at War: Genocide (Episode 21)
Rise and Fall of the Third Reich Adolf Hitler

Additional Relevant Information at Mr. Sedivy's Site:
Liberating Dachau
| World War II - Dachau Concentration Camp Complex |
| Unanswered Questions: The Railroad Boxcars |
| I Company Recollections and Quotes |
| Liberating Dachau: The 42nd Division at the Jourhaus |
Dachau, Germany
| Dachau: WWII Concentration Camp Memorial | 2 | 3 |
World War II Quotes
| Quotes from Europe and Asia - 1900s | Winston Churchill |
| American Quotes from the Early 1900s and World War I |
| US 20th-Century and World War II Quotes |

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- AP Modern European History in Depth -

Lecture Notes and Further Reading
| Methods and Rules for a Prince: How Should a Prince Rule? |
| Borg vs Hick: Theories on Jesus and Christianity |
| Kant's Epistemological Model and Religious Pluralism |

Related Information
| Poems and Prose From the 8th - 15th Centuries | 1 | 2 |
| Marseillaise, the National Anthem of France:
A Modern-day Controversy
| Sacré Phew! |
| French Culture: Historical Champagne and Wine Trivia |

Famous Modern European History Quotes
| Index of Quotes by Speaker / Historical Period |
| Famous Quotes from the Dark and Middle Ages |
| Relevant Quotes from the Reformation and Renaissance |
| Quotes from England: 15th, 16th and 17th Centuries |
| Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution Quotes | Voltaire |
| Quotes from the French Revolution and Napoleon Era |
| Modern European History Quotes from the 1800s |
| US 20th-Century and World War II Quotes |

AP Class Activities
| Play the Role of Philip II |
| Visual Interpretations - French Revolution Art |
| "Ism" Maps of Europe and Asia |
| Industrial Revolution: England's Advantage |
| Marx and Tocqueville | America's Entry Into World War I |
Trials - Simulations
| Trial of Martin Luther | Trial of Adolf Hitler |

Helpful Information for Students
| AP Essay Writing Skills |
| Student-Developed Class Presentation Topics |

Debate Information
| Guide: Individual Debate Position | Debate Self Evaluation |
| Existence of God | Catherine the Great or Frederick the Great |
| Locke - Hobbes | Voltaire or Rousseau |

Additonal Course Info / AP Class Policy
| AP European History Syllabus: Quarter 1 | Quarter 2 | Quarter 3 |
| Writing Assignments, Exams, Critical Book Reviews, More |
| AP Booklist and Fees |



Highlands Ranch High School 9375 South Cresthill Lane Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80126 303-471-7000

Mr. Sedivy's History Classes
| Colorado History | American Government | Advanced Placement Modern European History | Rise of Nation State England | World History |
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