West European Studies | Special Topics in West European Studies: History of German 1871-Present
W405 | 16828 | Roos, J
10:10A-11:00A MWF 3 cr.
Obtain on-line authorization from department
Section meets with HIST-B378
This course provides an overview of German history from the
unification of Germany in 1871 to the present. A key goal of this
class is to address two central questions about modern German
history: First, how was it possible that during the 1940s Germany—
long considered one of Europe’s most civilized societies—became the
perpetrator of the most barbaric crimes against humanity known to
mankind? Second, how did Germany manage to evolve into a stable
democratic society in the sixty years following the demise of
National Socialism? These questions will provide major red threads
for our discussions. Individual topics include: politics and culture
in the Second Empire of 1871; industrialization and its social
impacts; imperialism; gender and sexual morality in Wilhelmine
Germany (1890-1918); the First World War; military defeat and
revolution; political, social, and cultural innovations during the
Weimar Republic (1918-1933); sexual reform; the rise of National
Socialism; consent and opposition under Nazism; the Second World
War; the Holocaust; the occupation and division of Germany;
political and cultural developments in the Federal Republic of
Germany (FRG) and the German Democratic Republic (GDR); the GDR’s
demise; reunification and its discontents.
The course will introduce students to different approaches to German
history stressing the importance of social class, gender, political
structures, and cultural beliefs and practices, respectively. The
readings include primary historical sources, textbooks, scholarly
essays, and works of fiction. Some of the required readings include:
Mary Fulbrook, "A Concise History of Germany" (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2004); Erich Maria Remarque, "All Quiet on the
Western Front" (various editions; originally 1928); and Detlev J. K.
Peukert, "Inside Nazi Germany: Conformity, Opposition, and Racism in
Everyday Life" (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987).
Requirements: Two three to five-page papers (each worth 20% of the
final grade), two hour exams (10% each), one final exam (20%), and
regular attendance and participation (20%).