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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: Stage of Extremes: Transformation and Violence in 20th Century Germany (HIST10475)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryEric Hobsbawm's famous formula of the Age of Extremes does not apply to all countries of the world in the same way. For instance, the great continuity of institutions and elites in British history contrasts with German history in the 20th century, which was marked by radical breaks with the past. Germany was one of the most modern industrial societies of the time, played a major role in two World Wars, and had the strongest labour movement in Europe until 1933, yet it produced the deepest breakdowns of a civilisation in the history of humankind. The course discusses these radical transformations and how to place them in modern European history.
Course description The twelve years of the 'Third Reich' are the inescapable turning-point of German history in the 20th century and form the core of this course. In the spirit of the Reinhard Koselleck's Future's Past concept, however, the course also explores tradition that have been lost, and escaped the attention of historians of modern Germany. Long-term developments and sharp discontinuities will be analysed. The course offers both an overview of 20th century Germany and the opportunity to work on highly specialised questions. The course will give students the opportunity to choose their own topics in which to specialise. Was the Kaiserreich an authoritarian or a highly modern state? Why do German colonial troops commit genocide in Africa in 1905? How were Jewish success and anti-semitism linked before 1914? Was the German government responsible for the outbreak of World War I? Why did women's suffrage come earlier in Germany than in Britain? What happened to German colonialism after 1918? Did the German Revolution of 1918 fail? Was the Weimar Republic a mecca of modern architecture, jazz and nightclubs? How do we explain the rise of National Socialism? How far back does one have to go back in history in order to 'explain' the Holocaust? Did the Nazis establish an empire and colonial rule over Europe? Was the GDR the "better Germany" around 1950? What remained of German Marxism after 1933? What does the term denazification mean? How do you explain the terrorism of the 1970s? Why did the Berlin Wall fall in 1989? Next to contemporary key texts students will analyse sources from literature, paintings, photos and film. Throughout the course the history of 20th century Germany will be placed in relation to European and global history.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking The Third Reich 1933-1945 (HIST10359)
Other requirements A pass in 40 credits of third level historical courses or equivalent.

Before enrolling students on this course, Personal Tutors are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Administrator to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 504030)
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate competence in core skills in the study of history: essay-writing, independent reading, group discussion, small-group autonomous learning
  2. show detailed empirical knowledge of the key events of German history between 1900 and 1990
  3. plan and execute a substantial written analysis of key events in two selected time periods of German history based on written sources, images and film documents.
  4. evaluate and apply recent critical debates based on scholarly journals and public debates in the media.
  5. demonstrate the ability to reflect critically different methodological approaches from the field of social, political, gender, military, intellectual and cultural history.
Reading List
Shelley Baranowski, Nazi Empire: German Colonialism and Imperialism from Bismarck to Hitler. Cambridge, MA 2011.
Paul Betts, Within Walls: Private Life in the German Democratic Republic, Oxford 2010.
Christopher Browning, Christopher R. Ordinary Men, London 1993.
Kathleen Canning, (Ed), Weimar Publics -Weimar Subjects: Rethinking the Political Culture of Germany in the 1920s. New York 2013.
Richard J. Evans, The Coming of the Third Reich, London 2005.
John Kampfner, Why the Germans do it better. Notes from a grown-up country, London 2020.
Dagmar Herzog, Sex after Fascism: Memory and Morality in Twentieth-Century Germany, Princeton 2005.
Anton Kaes/ Martin Jay/ Edward Dimendberg (Eds.), The Weimar Republic sourcebook, Berkeley and London 1994.
Anson Rabinbach/ L. Gilman Sander (Eds.), The Third Reich Sourcebook,Berkeley 2013.
Axel Schildt / Detlef Siegfried (Eds.), Between Marx and Coca-Cola. Youth Cultures in Changing European Societies, 1960-1980, London 2006.
Helmut Walser Smith (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History, Oxford 2011.
Heinrich-August Winkler, Germany: The Long Road West: Volume 2: 1933-1990, Oxford 2007.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Stephan Malinowski
Tel: (0131 6)50 3588
Course secretaryMrs Ksenia Gorlatova
Tel: (0131 6)50 8349
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