German History Since 1914

Instructor: Martin Klimke

Rutgers History Department, Spring 2006
History 510:363, Tuesday/Friday 11:30-12:50
Scott 204, College Avenue, New Brunswick


This course will cover the major themes of German history since 1914. Based on the decisive political events that shaped the century, we will investigate the development of Germany’s economic, social and cultural fabric over the decades. The Wilhelmine Kaiserreich, the Republic of Weimar, the National Socialist State, the two German states after 1945 as well as the unified Germany in today’s Europe will form the periodical demarcations of this class. However, at the same time we will transcend these boundaries by examining long term historical developments with regard to concepts of citizenship, class structures, gender roles, generational and national identities or transnational allegiances. Particular attention will also be paid to cultures and politics of memory existing throughout the various decades. Readings are composed of a variety of primary and secondary sources, and will allow multi-faceted insights into Germany in the 20th century. Lectures will outline the state of current research and discuss how historians have conceptualized the processes and events
under discussion.

Course Requirements:
This course is designed as survey of twentieth-century German history. Students should be somewhat familiar with European history but need not necessarily fulfill any other requirements. Ability to read or speak German is also not particularly needed, but if you have the language you are encouraged to use it to read primary sources and titles from the reading list (Remarque, Haffner, Kaminer) in the original. The requirements for this course are that you participate regularly in class and discussions, write two short papers, a takehome midterm and final exam. The class will consist of an active lecture format, meaning that I plan to intersperse the lectures with discussions and debates. Generally a 30-40 minutes lecture will be succeeded by a discussion of the readings and/or the primary sources. It is therefore essential that you complete the assigned readings on time. Furthermore, you should feel free to raise questions or comments during any lecture.

Required Reading:

  • Mary Fulbrook, History of Germany 1918-2000: The Divided Nation, (Paperback), Blackwell Publishers; 2nd edition (2003)
  • Mary Fulbrook, ed., 20th-Century Germany: Politics, Culture and Society Since 1918-1990 (Paperback), Arnold Publishers (2001)
  • Ian Kershaw, The Nazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation, (Paperback), Arnold Publishers; 4th edition (2000)
  • Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front. Ballantine Books (1987)
  • Sebastian Haffner, Defying Hitler: A Memoir (Paperback) Picador (2003)
  • Anna Funder, Stasiland Granta Books (2003)
  • Wladimir Kaminer, Russian Disco (Paperback), Ebury Press (2002)