You need both but you have to have a foundation of 'what happened' before you can start getting into the rest of it. I have problems with an emphasis on the empathy stuff when it is sufficiently grounded in enough knowledge or real context for kids to have the slightest clue what they're really meant to be empathizing with. I saw that go on with my nephew when he was at school. He would often be completely frustrated with having to do these exercises for this reason - after covering subjects in an often incredibly perfunctory way it just felt like total bullshit to him and he's an intelligent kid who LOVED history in other contexts - historical films, TV series and museum visits - and does even more as an adult.Where do people stand on the debate about "teaching what happened" [trad] vs "teach skills of assessing evidence" [rad] history lessons? The 80s shift away from teaching facts is back in the spotlight over here, and I'm uncomfortable to find myself agreeing with the conservatives, that facts have been wrongly devalued.
Anyway, speaking of the Third Reich, I've been reading a book written by one of the very few survivors of the anti-Nazi resistance and the final plot to kill Hitler - Hans Bernd Gisevius. He survived because he managed to escape the purge by fleeing to Switzerland and was later able to testify against Goring at Nuremberg. He knew all the main players - Admiral Canaris, General Beck and so on (although he's pretty scathing about Stauffenberg) and it's an incredible document, partly written during the time, and partly afterward and published in 1947 under the title 'Until the Bitter End'. Incredible insight into the complex politics of pre-Nazi Germany and the intense machinations of and tensions between the Abwehr, the SS, the Gestapo and various Wehrmacht and diplomatic figures.