Dana Baumgartner’s “Jugend Dient Dem Fuerher: Growing Up in the Hitler Youth” project questioned why Hitler youth wrote memoirs, why they enlisted with the Hitler Youth, what their experiences were in the program, what their reactions were after the war, and how they coped later in life. Baumgartner’s primary sources included her own grandfather as well as memoirs by several other Hitler Youth that had written memoirs. The three she presented were each very different to convey her final analysis that the goals of the Hitler Youth were to build an indoctrinated military by removing children from their families, building nationalism, and adjusting curricula. The analysis of the memoirs seemed was very organized, critical, and unbiased. Each memoir was met with her five guided questions and she presented the answers to each very matter of factly with each of the three sources. With each source being so different she could have rounded out the analysis of life in the Hitler Youth more thoroughly with the inclusion of a member that subsequently joined a resistance movement.
Zach Young’s “The German Nuclear Program: How Germany’s Technological Progress Failed to Produce the Atomic Bomb” presentation explained the science behind nuclear weapons and questioned why Germany failed to create the atomic bomb before the United States. His primary sources remained unclear as he only explained his thesis in events that occurred; such as the bombing of Vermork, Norway’s heavy water plant. Young also claimed that these delays were coupled with a lack of scientists and other materials that made a two-year head start become a wasted project for Germany. Again, while he explained that the lack of theoretical physicists in Germany was due to a denunciation of Einstein’s work, because he was Jewish, leading to few opportunities to study the field, Young did not provide his sources. While the logic behind his project was easy to understand the audience was left to wonder where he discovered that there were reactors in basements, why he never discussed the scientist’s life at the time, or why Germany did not use the resources of lands they conquered. Clarity and transparency are needed for the project to improve.
Kathleen MacIndoe’s “The Forgotten Faces of Operation Valkyrie” examined an attempted coup against Hitler in an attempt to restore Germany’s government. MacIndoe argued that the renowned implementer of the assassination attempt, Claus von Stauffenberg, was merely a pawn in a plot by Henning von Tresckow and Friedrich Olbricht. Her case was made by analyzing rank and plot details. She presented a case comparing Tresckow and Olbricht’s previous assassination attempts and connections with the Operation Valkyrie coup. In her analysis of the event, she also included the flaws in the plan. MacIndoe concluded that the historiography needed to be altered; however, in the pos-presentation questioning, she made it clear that Germany recognized all three members of the resistance via memorials and placards. Her primary sources were clearly materials from the event and she had clearly organized the material to map out her argument. However, the door felt open to a counter argument that Stauffenberg was merely a copycat or admirer of Tresckow and Olbright’s work.