HIST 239(F) Modern German History: From Unification to Reunification, 1871-1990

This course will introduce students to the turbulent and often vexing history of German politics, society, and culture in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. At the start of our period, Germany became a unified nation-state for the first time in its history under the iron fist of Bismarck. Two world wars and several political regimes later, Germany was again united but this time as a European-oriented democratic state. Throughout the intervening period, the questions of what it meant to be German and how Germany should fit into Europe and the world were vigorously debated. The different answers that subsequent generations of Germans arrived at have had tremendous implications for people throughout the world. This survey will be guided by the question of German identity and by the issue of what problems the German past poses for today. We will study modern Germany in its various forms, from the Empire through the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich, to post-war division and reunification. Our primary focus will be the continuities and discontinuities of German history, particularly with regard to Nazism and the issue of how far the two postwar Germanies broke with the past. Format: mostly discussion. Evaluation will be based on class participation, three papers, and a final exam. No prerequisites. No enrollment limit (expected: 20-30). Group B