Historians from our third and fourth years visited Nuremberg, Munich and Salzburg earlier this summer to tour some of the most historically important sites relevant to the rise of the Nazis and the second world war.
In Nuremberg, the trip’s first stop, our pupils were taken on guided tours of the city, focusing on the Nazis’ annual rallies there between 1923 and 1938, and also visited courtroom 600 in which the allied forces tried Nazi war criminals. The superb guides on the city tour and an excellent exhibition above the courtroom really helped to further our historians’ understanding of these two hugely significant periods.
After making the short journey south from Nuremberg to Munich, the group’s next tour took them to the Dachau concentration camp to reflect on how the Nazis used it in its pre-war years to suppress their political opponents.
More notable sites of the Nazis’ rise followed on a tour of Munich, where pupils saw the room where Adolf Hitler joined the party, the locations of the Munich Putsch, the Nazi-built art gallery and the university, where the youth opposition to the regime was conducted by the White Rose group.
Heading towards the Austrian border, the tour visited Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest tea house – a gift for his 50th birthday built at a cost of over £100m in today’s money – after touring the bunker system underneath the mountain which housed over a thousand Nazis to allow them to continue the war from underground.
Some fantastic traditional German and Austrian cuisine and both countries’ stunning architecture and scenery provided breaks from the fascinating but intensively thought-provoking Nazi history lessons, with a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle – high up in the mountains in south-west Bavaria, two hours from Munich – and a morning shopping in Salzburg among the trip’s other highlights.
Our pupils, having been accompanied by Mrs Heather Ashton, Dr Stephen Smith, Mrs Lucy Lammas and Mr Peter Grant, eventually returned to Stockport after a packed few days having seen first-hand the locations of the topics they study during their work on the second world war in the Third Year and at GCSE level.