Final Reflection Post – Shannon Murphy

a) What have been the major obstacles you have faced in putting a research project together?

I think trying to decide exactly what to focus on and how to go about discussing my topic has been an obstacle for me. From conducting more research, my ideas and questions on the historical issue changed every time and sometimes made it hard to focus on one thing. I learned from the methodology paper that I was focussing on too many different issues at the one time and analysing issues together that should be looked at separately. As well as this, trying to wrap my head around methodology and how to use it in my dissertation was really complex and I struggled with this. However, I think from completing the dissertation proposal it is starting to make a lot more sense to me. Lastly, I think trying to find relevant primary sources online has been a lot harder than expected.

b) What strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?

Planning everything out properly has helped me to overcome these. I think at the start I was stressing myself out by not effectively planning exactly what I wanted to say, what questions I had and what sources I plan to use. I done a lot more reading and research for the dissertation proposal and this made my understanding of the topic a lot clearer. Also, I have read a lot more into collective biographical analysis and decided that this is the easiest way to get access to memoirs and diaries for my specific topic.

c) What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation?

It has taught me to plan effectively and read as much secondary material as possible. Taking time to read multiple sources and understand the wider debates and scholars perspectives has helped me bring together my dissertation aims and objectives. By doing this, it has also made me raise questions on the topic and what needs to be discussed more at length.

d) Which aspects of the 9X6 module have been the most useful in helping you get your project ready to start?

Selecting and meeting with a supervisor has been very effective. It is definitely important to have an early start on such an important and lengthy project as it will make the process easier and less stressful. I feel a lot more content that I have a good idea of exactly what angle I want my dissertation to take.

Annotated bibliography – Shannon Murphy

For my dissertation, I plan on drawing particular focus to the Nazi Regime from 1933-1945 – discussing the totalitarianism in Nazi Germany and the fear and state terrorism used to control the lives of Germans.

SS Marriage Order (December 31, 1931). In United States Chief Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality, Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume IV. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1946, Document 2284-PS [The History, Mission, and Organization of the Schutzstaffeln of the NSDAP, compiled on the Commission of the Reichsführer-SS by the SS-Standartenführer Gunter d’Alquen, 1939], pp. 976-77

This document is a primary source which showcases the controlling nature of Nazi Germany by emphasising the need for ‘pure-blood’ Germans in the SS and the importance of ensuring that SS men married women of superior worth and race. This is relevant as it provides an understanding of just how important identity was in Nazi Germany and gives an insight into the creation of the ‘perfect German’ to develop a strong, superior state.

The Fuhrer’s Decree on Preserving the Purity of the SS and the Police (November 15, 1941)

This is a Decree created by Hitler, which disowned any member of the SS or Police who was homosexual, and threatened death for any who acted upon their homosexuality. This will be useful in my dissertation as it is a perfect example of the fear and brutality ingrained into Nazi ideology and the intimidating nature of their organisations.

Decree from the Head of Security Police to the Heads of all State Police Offices (September 3, 1939)

This primary source outlines the beginning of the intrusion into the lives of German citizens and ensuring everyone followed the principles and ideas of the Nazi rule and did not spread anti-Nazi propaganda. This will help me highlight the constant fear amongst German citizens and how the Nazi Party were able to use these tactics to keep them in power.

Benedikt Kautsky’s Description of the Concentration Camps Hierarchy (Retrospective Account, 1961)

This is an account of a ‘political prisoner’ who experienced the Concentration Camps. The use of these type of accounts in my dissertation will be important as it is crucial to have evidence of the torture, horrific conditions and dehumanisation endured by these victims. This is the best way to emphasise the terror imposed by Germans and their push towards complete fear and control over these citizens.

Goeschel, Christian, and Nikolaus Wachsmann. “Before Auschwitz: The Formation of the Nazi Concentration Camps, 1933-9.” Journal of Contemporary History 45, no. 3 (2010): 515-34. Accessed February 6, 2021.

This journal is a great insight into the beginning of a Nazi totalitarian state and how terror and fear became imposed into Nazi ideology and German life. The author discusses the development of antisemitism throughout the concentration camps and the lead up to Auschwitz. This source provides analysis of Historians views on the matter and the different outlooks on Nazi terror and the relationship between Germans and the Nazi state.

Gellately, Robert. “The Gestapo and German Society: Political Denunciation in the Gestapo Case Files.” The Journal of Modern History 60, no. 4 (1988): 654-94. Accessed February 6, 2021.

I found this journal article particularly relevant to my dissertation topic as it focuses on the Gestapo’s role in creating a totalitarian state, and the attempt of complete eradication of all anti-state propaganda and ideas in Germany. The journal is a good example of the control the Nazi state had over Germany and the different perceptions of various historians on the motives of the Nazi’s to gain full support and superiority over its citizens.




Introduction – Shannon Murphy

Tell us where you are from, what sort of history or heritage dissertation you are currently thinking of doing and how you’ve been coping with distance learning?

Hi everyone, my name is Shannon and I live in Glasgow. I’m not 100% sure on what topic I’d like to focus on for my dissertation but it would most preferably be something to do with the impact of Nazi Germany during WW2. I find online learning pretty difficult, it’s hard to keep yourself motivated and focussed learning from your room and I struggle to separate myself from excessive screen time because of this. However I think I have been learning to cope with it a bit more recently.