Description of Course

Download 53.73 Kb.
Date conversion22.02.2016
Size53.73 Kb.

Description of Course:
In October 1990 Germany reunified: a thrilling turn of events few could have predicted. Many observers now wonder how the new Germany will evolve in the 21st century and what the effect will be upon Europe. Some Europeans, moreover, are suspicious of the reunified German nation, particularly because of Germany's past. What is this past? What is Germany's history?
History 330 will introduce you to many of the significant political, economic, social, and cultural developments in Germany since 1815, focusing on Imperial Germany (1871-1914), the Weimar Republic (1918-33), and the Third Reich (1933-45). We will also look at important events from 1945-1990, when the postwar division of Germany led to the German Federal Republic and German Democratic Republic, and to a surprising revolution in 1989 that resulted in the reunification of Germany in 1990.
In the modern period, Germans have experienced the consequences of many extremes: rapid industrialization and economic depression, political instability and powerful governmental control, social conflict and fervent nationalism, and cultural brilliance followed by unthinkable inhumanity. The road "forward" has not been easy for the German people: we will ask why the nation has suffered from profound social, political, and economic problems and what the consequences were for marginalized groups like the Jews and the working class. From 1864 to 1945 the German state also pursued an aggressive foreign policy, resulting in numerous wars; we will examine the role of the army, the navy and political leaders in this challenge to European/world security.
All of these subjects will be considered with the help of German historiography, including recent books that challenge accepted notions. While much of the course will outline the important political history of this period, we will also investigate German social and cultural history. As well, I will show you images of German life in photographs and artworks, and I will offer films – including Triumph of the Will – the most important propaganda film of the Third Reich. By the end of the course I hope you will have a vivid impression and understanding of modern German history.
Course Lectures and Tutorials:
The course consists of weekly 50-70 minute lectures and biweekly tutorials. Attendance at both lectures and tutorials is crucial to your final grade.

second-term research essay 25%

final exam (spring 2009) 25%

tutorial participation 25%

tutorial presentations (one each term) 10%

first-term essay 10%

prospectus for second-term essay 5%
Requirements of the Course:
In the first term you will be required to:

a) give a brief presentation, in tutorial, of one of the tutorial texts

b) write a short essay of 1500 words (6-8 pages)

c) write a prospectus for your second-term essay

d) participate actively in each tutorial meeting
In the second term you will be required to:

a) give a brief presentation, in tutorial, of one of the tutorial texts

b) write a research essay of 3500 words (15-18 pages)

c) participate actively in each tutorial meeting

d) write a final exam, in April
Oral Reports for Tutorials:
Each student is required to choose one tutorial reading per term for an oral presentation. Reports should last no longer than 10 minutes, and may end with a few questions to stimulate discussion. Avoid going over the basic factual material, point by point: instead give us your interpretation of what is important in the reading, and why the information helps us understand the topic of the seminar. In the syllabus you will see that I have included some questions for each week's reading: you can use these as guidelines for your presentation if you choose -- but don't simply answer each question in your presentation. The best presentations are like skillful book reviews: they summarize the main arguments of the book and then offer a careful analysis of how the author presents the ideas, and what we learn from some of the facts presented. If you are unsure about how to proceed, come and talk with me and I will help you.
During the first term, I also ask you to think about the topic of your second-term research essay. (In the fall I will make available a list of topics and an extensive bibliography to help you prepare for this essay.) This topic can be any subject within the history of modern Germany, from 1815 on. It doesn't matter if this topic hasn't been covered in lecture by the time you write your prospectus or the essay -- just choose something that you find intriguing or important, be this Hitler's rise to power, aspects of the Holocaust, art in Weimar Germany, women's lives during WW1, or Bismarck's unification of Germany. Look at any German history textbook for introductory information, or come and talk with me about possible topics. The prospectus is due on Wednesday December 3rd, 2008 and should state:
a) the topic you will write on

b) questions or subjects to consider (this can be in point form)

c) a list of 10 books or articles (and this may also include primary sources) you propose to use
I will give a mark to this prospectus (worth 5% of the final grade) according to the quality of your preliminary search for books and the kinds of questions or subjects you propose to consider.
In the second term you will prepare a research essay, due in lecture on Wednesday February 11th. In this essay I am looking for sound analysis, rather than a description of events; if you're unsure of what I mean, ask me or visit the Academic Skills Center for tips on how to write a great history essay. This essay should be 3500 words or roughly 15-18 pages in length. You must also include footnotes or endnotes and a bibliography, according to proper formatting style, as outlined in the Academic Skills Center guides.
In the fall term you will write a shorter essay of 1500 words (6-8 pages), addressing a specific historical theme within the period of 1815-1918, due on Wednesday October 29th, 2008. More information will be provided in tutorials.
I must also remind you of the following:
Academic dishonesty, which includes plagiarism and cheating, is an extremely serious academic offense and carries penalties varying from failure in an assignment to suspension from the University. Definitions, penalties and procedures for dealing with plagiarism and cheating are set out in Trent University’s “Academic Dishonesty Policy” which is printed in the University Calendar.
If you are confused about plagiarism, please talk to me! Also, it is important to remember that students cannot submit the same essay to several courses at Trent, nor can they purchase essays or download essays from the internet. Finally, any information taken from internet sources, especially if quoted directly from an internet website, must be placed in quotation marks and endnoted/footnoted. (If the info from the website is not directly quoted, do be aware that you must still provide a footnote or endnote indicating the website used for your research.)
Books for Purchase in the Trent Bookstore:
Modris Eksteins, Rites of Spring

Richard Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich

Theodore Fontane, Effi Briest (Please look for the translation by Hugh Rorrison – the latest!)

Gerhart Hauptmann, Three Plays (should include The Weavers)

Alfons Heck, A Child of Hitler: Germany in the Days When God Wore A Swastika

Christopher Isherwood, Berlin Stories

Alfred Kelly, ed., The German Worker

Ian Kershaw, The Hitler Myth

Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945

Art Spiegelmann, Maus, 2 vols.

>>N.B: Some of these books will be available on reserve at Bata Library<<
Recommended Background Textbooks: David Blackbourn, History of Germany, 1780-1918

Volker Berghahn, Modern Germany

Holger Herwig, Hammer or Anvil

Dietrich Orlow, A History of Modern Germany

Sept. 10 Introduction to the Course
Sept. 17 1815-1848: Early Nationalism, Romanticism, and Revolution

Sept. 24 1848-61: German Industrialization and Prussian Politics

Oct. 1 Bismarck and The Wars of Unification
Oct. 8 Imperial Germany, 1871-1918: Political and Economic Structure

Oct. 15 Bismarck’s Influence: The Abuse of Power by the Iron Chancellor

******************** READING WEEK ********************

Oct. 29 Imperial Germany: Culture and Society

Nov. 5 Imperial Germany: Socialism and the Working Class

Nov. 12 Imperial Germany: William II, Foreign Policy and the Origins of WW1

Nov. 19 World War One

Nov. 26 The Birth of the Weimar Republic: The Revolution of 1918
Dec. 3 The Weimar Republic: Politics and Economics from 1918-1929

Jan. 7 The Weimar Republic: Culture

Jan. 14 The Rise of Hitler and the NSDAP

Jan. 21 The Collapse of the Weimar Republic. Who voted for Hitler?

Jan. 28 The Third Reich: Establishing the Totalitarian State

Feb. 4 The Third Reich: Society and the Führer

Feb. 11 The Third Reich: Propaganda/Culture

Film: Triumph of the Will

******************** READING WEEK ********************
Feb. 25 The Third Reich: Hitler's Foreign Policy and the Origins of WW2

Mar. 4 World War Two

Mar. 11 The Holocaust

Mar. 18 Zero Hour (Stunde Null): Germany after 1945

Mar. 25 The Two Germanies: The Federal Republic and the German Democratic Republic

Apr. 1 The Revolution of 1989 and the Reunification of Germany

Access to Instruction
It is Trent University’s intent to create an inclusive learning environment. If a student has a disability and/or health consideration and feels that he/she may need accommodations to succeed in this course, the student should contact the Disability Services Office (BL Suite 109, 748-1281, as soon as possible.

Introductory Meetings:

Thursday tutorial, please meet me on Thursday Sept. 11

Friday tutorial, please meet me on Friday Sept. 12
In these meetings, lasting only an hour, I will explain the requirements of the course in more detail, and ask you to choose a tutorial book for presentation in the fall term. I also get a chance to meet you! If you cannot make this time, please let me know at the next scheduled tutorial which book you would like to present for this term.

A. The Revolution of 1848
Reading: Gerhart Hauptmann, The Weavers (From Three Plays)

Meetings: Thursday, September 25

Friday, September 26
1. Who was Gerhart Hauptmann? When did he write The Weavers? (See the introduction.)

2. Why do you think the play lacks a main character? Why, instead, does Hauptmann feature so many different characters?

3. Why are the weavers suffering? What, exactly, is a weaver?

4. The play is set in adjoining towns in Silesia. Where is this area?

5. Describe Dreissiger, and contrast him with the weavers Baecker or Jaeger. How does Dreissiger justify his position as a manufacturer?

6. What sort of lives do the female weavers have?

7. How does religion affect the weavers?

8. Who do the weavers see as their enemies?

9. What sort of ideas does the company at Dreissiger's home uphold? What does the young tutor Weinhold think?

10. Why, in the end, do the weavers turn to violence? Will their actions bring positive or negative results?

11. Was the popular revolution of 1848 a success or a failure in the German states?

During the week of September 29th – October 3rd, there will be lecture but no tutorials. I am away from Thursday Oct. 2-Sunday Oct. 5th at the German Studies Association Conference in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

B. The German Worker in the Age of Industrialization
Reading: Alfred Kelly, The German Worker

Sections to read: 1. Introduction

Autobiographies of Ottilie Baader, Adelheid Popp, Doris Viersbeck, Franz Rehbein, Moritz Bromme, A Barmaid, Otto Krille, Ernst Schuchardt, Ludwig Turek, Max Lotz
Meetings: Thursday, October 9

Friday, October 10

  1. Are these autobiographies representative of the German working-class experience? If so, how?

  2. What are some of the problems and obstacles faced by these workers?

  3. How are these workers treated by Germans of other classes, including bourgeois and aristocratic Germans?

  4. How do religion and family affect workers’ lives at this time? Or do they??

  5. How does gender play a role in the conditions of the German worker?

  6. Explain and describe the differences in the types of work covered in this collection of worker autobiographies. Were some kinds of jobs better than others? Worse?

  7. What were the attitudes of some of these workers towards the Social Democratic Party, Germany’s only socialist party in Imperial Germany (1871-1918)?

C. Women, Love, Marriage, and Honour in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Prussia)
Reading: Theodore Fontane, Effi Briest (translator: Hugh Rorrison)
Meetings: Thursday, October 30

Friday, October 31

1. What light does this novel shed on the aristocratic society of Prussia in the late nineteenth century?

2. What were the roles and requirements for “proper” women in this society?

3. How would you describe the character and predicament of Effi?

4. Compare the societies of Hohen-Cremmen and Kessin. Both places represent different emotional environments for Effi. Why?

5. Why does Effi experience problems in her marriage?

6. What is the significance of the chinaman story? Why does Instettin tell this tale to Effi?

7. How would you describe Instettin? Can you explain his code of honour? What does he believe in, and why? Why does he fight the duel with Crampas?

8. Who, or what, is responsible for what happens to Effi?

9. What references do you find in the novel to historical events and leading political figures in Germany?

10. Why should a historian be interested in this novel? What does it say about class, gender divisions, social values, the influence of the military, and the relationship between the individual and the state?

D. Germany and the First World War
Reading: Modris Eksteins, Rites of Spring, pp. 90-207
Meetings: Thursday, November 13

Friday, November 14

N.B. I will ask you to read only a section of this book, detailing the war experience from 1914-1918. To understand the significance of the title, it is important to know that Eksteins begins the book with a discussion of a controversial ballet, called the Rites of Spring (or Le Sacre du printemps). The music for this ballet, quite radical in its sound, was composed by Igor Stravinsky. Rites of Spring, performed in May 1913, explored the "primitive" essence of man and woman and celebrated the essential connections between nature and the human species; it also, however, showed a female victim going to her death (being sacrificed) – without any suggestion that this murder was tragic or immoral. Thus the ballet seems to stress the vitality of life, but in a rather brutal theme (that some may die for the sake of this vitality). Eksteins sees this theme as modern in its perspective, and one that would also emerge within WW1. For those students giving presentations on this text, you may wish to read pages 9-16 and 50-54.
1. Why did many Germans see the struggle of war in 1914 in spiritual terms? What sort of spiritual terms?

2. Why were German identity and Kultur (civilization) emphasized by those who supported the idea of war? How was this contrasted with the West?

3. How was the beginning of the "Great War," especially the Xmas of 1914, different from the later years of the war?

4. Why did the British go to war? What were they defending? How did they view the Germans?

5. What was the war experience all about?

6. How did the Germans precede the Allies in the tactics or machinery of warfare? Why is this significant?

7. Why did soldiers keep fighting until 1918? What drove them on?

8. Why does Eksteins call the war "the civil war of the European middle class"? Do you agree??

9. How were the values of war instilled in the men before the war even began?
E. The Weimar Republic
Reading: Richard Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich

Suggested Reading: Preface

Required: “Descent into Chaos” (60-76) “The Weaknesses of Weimar” (78-102) “The Great Inflation” (103-117)
Meetings: Thursday, November 27

Friday, November 28

1. Why did Evans write this book? What general themes does he want to stress?

2. After WW1, how did feelings of hatred and anger emerge among the German people – not only against the Jews, but also against the Allies? What were the criticisms of the Treaty of Versailles?

3. How did soldiers, such as those who joined the veterans’ associations like the Steel Helmets, view the loss of the war and the onset of revolution?

4. Which German parties supported the Weimar Republic? How much popular support did they have?

5. What were the “weaknesses” of Weimar?

6. Why was it significant that the Republic did not win over the army, or the civil service, to its side? How would you describe the judiciary in the Weimar Republic?

7. What happened during the Great Inflation that turned many Germans to the political right? Why?

A. Berlin in the Twenties
Reading: Christopher Isherwood, Berlin Stories: Goodbye to Berlin

(Please read pp. v-xiii and Goodbye to Berlin, the story that is the second half of the book.)

Meetings: Thursday January 8th

Friday January 9th

1. What image of Berlin in the Weimar years do you have after reading this work? What were some of the problems in this capital city?

2. Why do you think Berlin attracted so many visitors from Europe and the U.S. during the 1920s and early 1930s?

3. Sally Bowles could be Isherwood's example of the "new woman" of the twenties. How would you describe her? Who are some of the other women in the story?

4. What do you think of the nightlife Isherwood describes? What does it say about the character of interwar Berlin?

5. According to Isherwood, what do the Nazis represent? Why did they find support in Berlin? Why are the communists another important group?

6. How does Isherwood address the subject of antisemitism in Berlin?

7. How are the Nazis presented in the story?

B. Hitler and the German People: the Hitler Myth
Reading: Ian Kershaw, The Hitler Myth, pp. 1-104; 169-199 (Chapter 7) and Conclusion
Meetings: Thursday January 22nd

Friday January 23rd

1. What does Kershaw mean by "the Hitler myth"?

2. What factors made it more likely that Germans would search for a “heroic” leader, in the Weimar years?

3. How was Hitler presented to the masses? Why was the emphasis on Hitler alone so important to Nazi propaganda?

4. How was the Hitler myth used as an integrating force in the Third Reich?

5. Why did some Germans hate the party, but love the Leader (the Führer)?

6. How did Germans respond to the Night of the Long Knives?

7. What happened to the Hitler myth during the Second World War?

8. Why was Stalingrad such a pivotal event?

9. Did the Allied air bombings of such cities as Hamburg have any effect in weakening the Hitler Myth?
****Break of several weeks, to allow work on your essays****
C. Everyday Life in the Third Reich; How did Germans Experience Nazism?
Reading: Alfons Heck, A Child of Hitler: Germany in the Days When God Wore A Swastika
Meetings: Thursday February 26

Friday February 27

1. Where did Alfons Heck grow up? What were some of the important characteristics of this area?

2. How did he first encounter Hitler? What were his impressions of the Führer? Why was Hitler popular in Wittlich?

3. How does Heck describe the Jungvolk (“young boys” section of the Hitler Youth) and its appeal?

4. What happened to Heinz Ermann, his friend?

5. Describe Heck’s experience at the Nuremberg rally of 1938.

6. When war broke out in 1939, how did Heck respond? Did other Germans support the war?

7. What happened to Heck during the war? What responsibilities and tasks did he take on as part of the Hitler Youth?

8. How can we explain his loyalty to Hitler and his support of the war throughout the period 1939-45?

9. How did Heck first hear about the Holocaust? What was his reaction?

10. What was the Volksturm (“the people’s storm”)?

11. When did Alfons Heck write this autobiography? Can you see any potential problems with the recounting of events and ideas in this work? What should we be cautious about? What, however, can we learn??
D. The Holocaust
Art Spiegelmann, Maus (Vols. 1 and 2)
Meetings: Thursday March 12th

Friday March 13th

  1. When you read Spiegelmann’s account of what happened to his parents during World War Two, how does this help to explain the history of the Holocaust? What do you learn? How do you react, emotionally and intellectually, while reading this story?

  2. What were some of the lasting effects on Spiegelmann’s father (as a survivor of Auschwitz)?

  3. How would you describe the relationship between Art and Vladek Spiegelmann?

  4. What sort of a person is Vladek? Why doesn’t Spiegelmann portray him as an untarnished hero??

  5. How do you find the format of the book? (In other words, how do you relate to the drawings and “comic book” appearance of this work?) Do the drawings belittle the subject, or draw you in? Is the comic book format appropriate for a portrait of the Holocaust? If yes, why? If no, why?

  6. Why do you think Vladek survived? How could someone survive or even endure Auschwitz?

  7. Why does Art find it so difficult to be the son of a Holocaust survivor? What impact did the Holocaust have upon Art?

E. Postwar Germany
Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945

Required Readings: “The Legacy of War” (13-27), “Retribution” (41-62), “The Coming of the Cold War” (145-153), “The End of the Old Order” (610-616), “A Fissile Continent” (638-643)

Suggested Reading: “The Politics of Stability” (265-277: on West Germany, i.e. the Federal Republic of Germany)
Meetings: Thursday March 26

Friday March 27

  1. By 1945 how much damage to the cities in Europe had occurred because of the war?

  2. What was the extent of human losses? Causes of death?

  3. Who suffered the greatest military losses? Why?

  4. Why were Russian troops so vicious in German-occupied territory?

  5. How did the war uproot, transplant, expel, and disperse millions of people?

  6. What happened to the Jewish survivors of concentration camps?

  7. How did the Allies attempt to punish the Nazis in the postwar period? Was retribution justly imposed upon most Nazi criminals?

  8. How did many Germans feel about Nazism, after the war had ended and Hitler had died?

  9. How did the East German authorities define and punish Nazis?

  10. What was the Berlin crisis of 1949? Why did Germany split into two states?

  11. How did the creation of NATO help the stability of West Germany?

  12. What factors precipitated the German revolution of 1989? Why couldn’t the East German government, and the Socialist Unity Party (SED), stop the popular revolution?

  13. What factors led to Germany’s reunification in 1990?

  14. Why didn’t Gorbachev block reunification?

  15. How much did it cost West Germany to absorb the former East Germany?

The database is protected by copyright © 2016
send message

    Main page