Modern German History, 1918-1990 - HI5096

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
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5 30 (15)
Canterbury Spring
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5 30 (15) PROF UID Schmidt







Focusing on the history of modern Germany in the Twentieth Century, the module examines major changes and continuities in the development of a highly advanced, industrialised but also militarised European nation state which played a central role in shaping the modern European geographical and political landscape. The module explores the end of the Imperial Monarchy after the end of the First World War in 1918, the role of the Allied reparation demands, hyper-inflation and political instability of the Weimar Republic, and the rise of National Socialism and the Third Reich during the 1930s. The course will chart the influence of anti-Semitism, racial eugenics and geopolitics in Germany’s quest for world domination during the Second World War and assess the legacy of the Holocaust in defining post-war German identity and society. By examining the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the module will take a critical look at the politics, ideology and day-to-day history (Alltagsgeschichte) of East and West German society during the Cold War, and explore the underlying factors which led to the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and subsequent German reunification.


Contact hours

10 lectures and 10 two-hour seminars (3 hours per week).


Taught as a combined I and H level module: HI5096 and HI5097.

Method of assessment

The module will be examined by coursework (40%) and a 2-hour written exam (60%).

Intermediate level students will be required to write two 2,500 word essays. They will also be required to give a presentation to their seminar group. The coursework mark will be made up in this way: Essay 1: 40%; Essay 2: 40%; Presentation and seminar performance: 20%.

Preliminary reading

Bessel, R., Germany after the First World War (Oxford, 1995)
Bessel, R., Germany 1945: From War to Peace (London, 2009)
Evans, R., The Third Reich in Power (London, 2005)
Friedländer, S., The Years of Extermination (London, 2007)
Fulbrook, M., German History since 1800 (London, 1997)
Fulbrook, M., The People’s State (London, 2005)
Fulbrook, M., Dissonant Lives: Generations and Violence through the German Dictatorships (Oxford, 2011).
Jarusch, K., Dictatorship as Experience (Oxford, 1999)
Kershaw, I., Hitler, 2. Vol. (London, 1998; 2000)
Klessmann, C., The Divided Past (Oxford, 2001)
Ross, C., The East German Dictatorship (London, 2002)
Sereny, G., The German Trauma (London, 2000)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

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