PROGRAM DETAILS

The Wannsee Conference: 90 Minutes that Changed World History?

Instructor
Claudia Dunlea
Category
History / Jewish Culture & History
WPL01242

Course Description

On January 20, 1942, in a grand villa on the shore of Berlin’s Lake Wannsee, a conference of 15 Nazi officers got together to discuss the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question.” The meeting produced the “Wannsee Protocol,” which has mystified us ever since it was discovered in 1947 in Berlin. How should we understand this methodical business-like discussion of holocaust laid down in it? Why was the meeting even necessary? Hundreds of thousands of Jews had already been shot in Russia or gassed in the camp at Chelmno. Holocaust deniers sometimes contend that, because Hitler was not present at this meeting and because the genocidal nature of the "Final Solution" was not spelled out explicitly, somehow this means that there was no deliberate policy from the top ordering the destruction of the Jews of Europe. This lecture seeks to unravel the reasons behind the Wannsee Conference, what happened there and explain how it was that, on a snowy day, fifteen well-educated young men met to talk murder.

About the Instructor

  • Claudia Dunlea, PhD, is a Senior Instructor of History at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). She received her doctorate in European Integration History from the University of Hamburg, Germany, in 2003. Dunlea is the author of a book that investigates the origins of a supranational European foreign policy in the 1950s. Her recent research on the diplomatic relations of the European Union was published in two international publications. Having been born and raised in post-WW2 Germany, Dunlea developed a deep personal interest in the 12 dark years of her country’s history. Among other topics, she is teaching courses on WW2, aspects of the Holocaust, and modern Germany’s attempt to deal with its Nazi past.