Spring 2019 - HIST 332 D100

Politics and Culture in Modern Germany (4)

Class Number: 6674

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    RCB 6125, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 12, 2019
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    AQ 3150, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Lauren Rossi
    Office: AQ 6011
  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units of lower division history.



An examination of major themes in German history from the establishment of a united German Empire in 1871 to the reunification of Germany in 1990. Emphasis will be placed on issues related to the formation of German national identity and the problems associated with modernization and militarism. Attention will be given to the difficulties of Weimar democracy, the nature of the Third Reich, and contrasting developments in East and West Germany after 1949.


What constitutes the story of unified Germany? How can we understand the evolution of Germany, one of the strongest economic powers in the world and currently the strongest in Europe, from its starting point in 1871, through world war, economic upheaval, dictatorship, genocide, division, and reunification? What does it mean to be German after 1871, or 1918, or 1948, or 1990? Finally, can German history after 1871 be told without focusing on the 1933-1945 period?

This course examines German history from national unification in 1871 to the reunification of the two Germanys in 1990, with a final class devoted to post-reunification German successes and challenges. We will investigate diverse topics focusing on politics and culture, including the role of Bismarck and the founding of the Second Reich, the emergence of Germany as a Great Power in Europe, World War I and the legacy of defeat, the quest for political legitimacy and social change during the Weimar era, the impact of the Great Depression and the National Socialist “revolution,” Nazi racial policy, total war and genocide, post-war occupation and division, conflict and accommodation in East Germany, economic recovery and social change in West Germany, reunification, and contemporary issues including immigration, national identity, and the resurgence of far-right nationalism. Breaks and continuities in German history will be highlighted, such as the idea of a German “special path” of development, the failure of liberal democracy prior to 1933, the legacy of Nazism in the post-45 period, and the experience of a divided nation during the cold war.


  • Attendance and Participation (including tutorial leadership) 15%
  • Primary Document Analysis (take-home test) 20%
  • Text Analyses (10% each) 30%
  • Final Project (5% determined by annotated bibliography) 35%



Roger Chickering, Imperial Germany and the Great War, 1914-1918 (3rd edition)

Joseph Roth, What I Saw: Reports from Berlin (any edition)

Christopher R. Browning, Ordinary Men (2017)

Peter Schneider, The Wall Jumper (any edition)

Bernhard Schlink, Guilt About the Past (2009)

ONE OF: Ernst Jünger, Storm of Steel OR Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front (any edition)

Registrar Notes:

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