Assignment Purpose: In this course, our topic is: What flaws in the critical thinking process do individuals, groups, politicians and entire governments make so that tyrants are able to rise to power? Previously, to help us answer this question, we explored how Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) rose to power; this week we’re going to explore what “critical thinking” is by deciding whether the 1933 Vatican Concordant with Hitler’s Third Reich  was the result of thinking critically on the part of the Vatican.

Explain what critical thinking is to a targeted reader group of your choice (students? ordinary citizens?) by using the 1933 Vatican Concordant as a vehicle to explain what critical thinking is.  Contend that the 1933 Concordant WAS or WAS NOT the result of critical thinking on the part of the Vatican: Cardinal Eugenio Pascelli (the future Pope Pius XII).  Once you have supported your thesis, make a point about critical thinking–something you wish to persuade your reader group about in regard to critical thinking. For example, as the real-life scenario of the 1933 Vatican Concordant teaches us, critical thinking requires courage–OR one must exercise prudence  when thinking critically; if one doesn’t, one may jeopardize one’s survival and the survival of others.

To accomplish all of the above, you will need to …

1.  Define what critical thinking is–remembering to credit any and all sources you consult appropriately: quotation marks around quotes followed by a parenthetical citation as well as a parenthetical citation after paraphrased passages. 

2.  Introduce the topic of the 1933 Concordant as a real-life scenario that will help you to explain what critical thinking is–, you will use the 1933 Concordant as a vehicle to explain what critical thinking is by explaining how the Vatican, via Cardinal Eugenio Pascelli (the future Pope Pius XII), DID or DID NOT think critically in regard to the 1933 Concordant.

To help you support your thesis, you will need to …

1.  Research the aims of Cardinal Eugenio Pascelli (future Pope Pius XII) in arranging for and signing the 1933 Concordant–and learn if these aims were accomplished, and if there was reasonable hope of their being accomplished.  Was Cardinal Pascelli thinking clearly, without bias or preconceptions; did he or should he have had a very good idea, in 1933, of the intentions of Hitler and the Reich regarding the Jewish people and what form of government Hitler and the Reich wished to establish in Germany, particularly in regard to religious organizations like the Church?  Did Cardinal Pascelli ask and answer questions in this regard?  And … ask yourself if there’s evidence that he intended to honor the Concordant–and learn if he did.  

2.  Learn what aims Hitler and the Reich had for signing the 1933 Concordant, and if these aims were accomplished–and if there was reasonable hope of their being accomplished.  And … ask yourself if Hitler and the Reich intended to honor the Concordant–and learn if they did.


1. Include a minimum of four quotes from sources you research, in correct MLA format, 8th edition.

2. Use correct MLA format, 8th Edition; 

3. Read the college-level essay in Chapter 1 of our textbook THIS LITTLE BOOK About How to Write a College-Level Essay, and read the college-level essay examples in Chapter 3. You will need to write the same kind of college-level essay, one that is NOT a Five-Paragraph Essay and that contains a variety of paragraphs.

4.  Remember … you are not writing to me or to your peers; don’t refer to anything taking place in this class.  You are writing to a broad reader group that may NOT be familiar with Hitler or his Nazi government.  Articulate your ideas clearly, and provide any necessary background information for your readers to follow your thoughts.  See the helpful video below about how to develop a rhetorical focus for your essay.
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