UCSB Hist 133C, Winter 2006 [Spring 2007 version]
Germany since 1945
MWF 11-11:50, HSSB 4020

Prof. Marcuse (homepage)
HSSB 4221, 893-2635
Office hours: Mon & Tue 1-2pm

Germany since 1945:
Dealing with Legacies of
Course Syllabus
(pdf print version)

Introduction and Goals (back to top; jump down to schedule of lectures)

Prior to 1945 Germany had been the primary instigator of two world wars and the perpetrator of a horrific genocide in the heart of Europe. However, by the early 1950s its western part was one of the Western alliance's most reliable allies, and its eastern part an important link in the security buffer Stalin had created for the Soviet Union. West Germany was a "bastion of democracy" buffering capitalist western from communist eastern Europe, while East Germany was a laboratory experiment in "real existing socialism" under the constraints of Cold War competition. What made this turnaround possible? How did it play out over time? How did it end? What human costs did it have? This course pays special attention to the process of development of German political culture after 1945.

Research shows that a short time after taking any course most students will remember relatively few of the factual details from that course. Thus I try to emphasize historical themes and skills that may have more lasting value. Throughout this course, we will practice analyzing and interpreting evidence to draw our own conclusions about the causes and consequences of historical developments.

Requirements (back to top)

  1. I expect you to attend all classes and films. Why take a course if you don't make the effort to learn what it teaches? Lectures include images, videos, discussion and information not available elsewhere. I will call roll until I learn your names. Participation counts for 5% of the course grade.
    If you wish to have an excused absence, including undocumented medical absences, you must inform me by e-mail or phone message before the class in question begins.
  2. There will not be a formal midterm examination. Instead, you will be asked to write a short text (450 words) on simple questions about the assigned readings or films, roughly once each week. These ten questions will be announced in advance. They are worth 40% of the final grade.
    Make-up questions are only possible for absences excused prior to the start of class.
  3. A book essay proposal (1-2 pages), draft ,and a final version (1800 words, 5-6 pages). This paper is based primarily on one book, but requires some research. (See the blue handout for details.)
    The proposal is due Friday, Jan. 27; the draft Friday, Feb. 17; and the final version Friday, March 10, always at the beginning of class. Together they count for 5+5+20=30% of your final grade.
  4. A take-home final examination will have 3 IDs chosen from 9, and one essay question from a choice of two. It is worth 25%. A study guide may be distributed in advance.
    No-exam option: Students receiving a B+ or better on their paper draft may opt out of taking the final exam. If they want to opt for this, they must submit their final version on Friday, Feb. 27. They must then submit, by March 4, a corrected and augmented electronic version for publication on the course web site. This web version must include a 60-word project description and an annotated bibliography and linkography. The grade of this final version will count as the exam grade. Details will be available on a separate web option handout.

Grading: Participation: 5%; 10 questions: 40%; proposal+draft+term paper: 30%; final exam: 25%.
Work submitted after 11:05am on the due date will lose one point per day.

Required Books (back to top)

  • Textbook: Mary Fulbrook: Divided NationFulbrook, The Divided Nation: A History of Germany, 1918-1990 (Oxford, 1992). Textbook focusing on the post-1945 period. DD240.F85 1992 [2002 Blackwell edition also ok: History of Germany 1918-2000: The Divided Nation]
  • Ika Hügel-Marshall, Invisible Woman: Growing Up Black in Germany (Continuum, 2002). Memoir of the daughter of a Black US GI and a young German woman, born in 1947, about what it was like growing up in West Germany during the 1950s. HQ1625.H84 A3 2001
  • Christopher Hilton, The Wall: The People's Story (Sutton, 2003). A research journalist recounts the history of the Berlin wall intertwined with stories about how ordinary people experienced it. DD881.H57 2001
  • Jana Hensel, After The Wall: Confessions from an East German Childhood and the Life that Came Next, (Public Affairs, 2004). Age 13 when the wall came down, this student recounts her experience of reunification with West Germany.

Schedule of Lectures and Assignments (back to top)






9 Jan.
11 Jan.
13 Jan.

Introduction: What's special about Germany?
What is Germany?--Three Empires, Four Republics
A "Special Path"? / US Army film: This is Germany

Textbook chaps. 1, 14


16 Jan.
18 Jan.
20 Jan.

No class: Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
The 1920s: Weimar Germany
Political parties and the party system

Textbook chaps. 2+3
Txtbk pages; find books for papers


23 Jan.
25 Jan.
27 Jan.

Nazi Germany: Major themes and events
Defeat and its legacies
4 Ds, 2 Rs, and 2 turn-arounds Book proposal due

Textbook chaps. 4+5
Textbook chap. 6
start Hügel-Marshall


30 Jan.
1 Feb.
3 Feb.

Continuities in the East: 1953 and after
Continuities in the West: 2 more Rs discussion of H-M.
Uniting vs. Dividing Germany: 1952 to the Berlin Wall

Textbook ch. 7
finish Hügel-Marshall
Hilton, 1-180


6 Feb.
8 Feb.
10 Feb.

The Building of the wall
Separate Lives: The 1960s
West German Foreign Relations in the 1960s and 70s

Hilton, 1-180
Textbook 197-207 & chap. 10
Hilton 181-240; textbook 207-220


13 Feb.
15 Feb.
17 Feb.

discussion of Hilton; Evening Film: The Promise
West Germany and the Nazi Past I
West Germany and the Nazi Past II paper draft due

Evening Film [imdb page]

Paper draft due at start of class


20 Feb.
22 Feb.
24 Feb.

No class: Presidents' Day
Socialist Republic vs. Capitalist Democracy
Dissent in the West

Textbook chaps. 9 and 12
Hilton 241-268; textbook 278-290


27 Feb.
1 Mar.
3 Mar.

Dissent and the Stasi State in the East
Building a Mass Movement
The Opening of the Berlin Wall web option due date

Textbook 265-278; Philipsen text
Hilton 269-353; textbook ch. 13
web option papers due


6 Mar.
8 Mar.
10 Mar.

The Opening of the Berlin Wall, II
Democratic Socialism or Socialist Democracy?
Dealing with legacies of dictatorship; paper due date

Hensel, start
Hensel, finish
ALL papers due (start of class)


13 Mar.
15 Mar.
17 Mar.

Student presentations Evening Film: Goodbye Lenin
Putting It All Together
Final discussion

Evening Film [imdb page]

Textbook chap. 14


23 Mar.

Thu., 3pm: Final Exam due in my office, HSSB 4221

take-home exam

Plagiarismpresenting someone else's work as your own, or deliberately failing to credit or attribute the work of others on whom you draw (including materials found on the web)—is a serious academic offense, punishable by dismissal from the university. It hurts the one who commits it most of all, by cheating them out of an education. I will report offenses to the appropriate university authorities for disciplinary action.

syllabus prepared for web by H. Marcuse on Jan. 16, 2006, updated: 1/17/06, 4/3/07
back to top; to UCSB Hist 133c homepage, to Courses Page; Prof. Marcuse's homepage