Modern German History
This course explores the history of modern Germany from the founding of the Empire in 1871 to the present. Among the themes that we will study are the repeated radical transformation of Germany’s political structures, the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, the place of dictatorship, war and genocide in German history and memory, as well as the country’s shifting position within Europe and the world. We will also examine some of the major debates in German historiography, such as the idea that the Nazi Third Reich resulted from a flawed pattern of modernization that disconnected economic liberalism from political democracy. Throughout this course, we will pay particular attention to the ruptures and continuities in modern German history, and to the meanings of a traumatic past for the construction of German national identity. Course requirements include regular attendance, active participation, two essays, and an in-class final examination.