Drawing on the history of Germany’s transition from democratic republic to fascist dictatorship, this lecture will explore democracy’s inherent fragility. Only thirteen years after the founding of the liberal, progressive, forward-looking Weimar Republic, over half of German voters cast their ballots for non-democratic parties. How do we explain why people would willingly eliminate the system that protected their civil rights and political freedoms? And what does that history mean for us today?
Dr. Valerie Hébert is Associate Professor of History and Interdisciplinary Studies at Lakehead University in Orillia. She teaches the history of modern Europe, Nazi Germany, Genocide, and on the photography of human rights violations and international conflict. She has published on the Nuremberg Trials, Rwanda’s Gacaca Tribunals, the evolution of human rights law, and she is currently preparing a book on Holocaust photographs.