World War II

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How would you write a short story about the start of WWII using these words: Treaty of Versailles, Totalitarianism, Germany, Dictatorships, Nationalism?

Expert Answers

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You need a structure on which to weave all those words and their meanings. You first want to create a character, perhaps a child living in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s who is watching history unfold. Perhaps you could have them looking out a window of their apartment looking at life changing in front of them and listening to people talking in the street below.

The story could start with the child, very young, listening to adults outside his open window talking about the Treaty of Versailles. He could be playing with toys and hearing people grumbling about how the treaty is a backstab and how it is unfair to blame the Germans entirely for the war.

The story could then fast-forward ten years to the child as a teenager, doing his homework by the same open window and watching people marching by with swastika flags. In the distance, he could hear a speaker talking about nationalism, stating that the German people have a special destiny different from all other countries; he would be stating the important of protecting the Aryan folk.

A few years later, just starting college, the young man could be at the window remembering the torchlit parade on a cold night in January as Hitler was installed as chancellor and now listening to the news on the radio of the Reichstag fire and Hitler taking on the powers of a dictator.

Finally, you could have the same young man a few years later watching his neighbor dragged from the house by the SS for having been overheard criticizing Hitler. The young man could reflect on how any deviance from the norm is forbidden now that Hitler has set up a totalitarian regime.

This is just an idea—the point is to find a way to work in these concepts using visual images and emotions.

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