Modern German History in European Context: A Thematic Approach

Freie Universität Berlin

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Modern German History in European Context: A Thematic Approach

  • Host University

    Freie Universität Berlin

  • Location

    Berlin, Germany

  • Area of Study

    European Studies, German Culture, History

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Today there is no more talk of a "German problem," but no one doubts that Germany had a profound and paradoxical impact on the trajectories of European history. Many historians express relief that the 20th century did not become the "German century" instead of the "American century.?\" Others concentrate on the transformation from a violent "Germanized Europe" to a (mostly) peaceful "Europeanized Germany." In the big picture, modern German history is a useful vantage point for exploring European developments during the 20th century, not only because of Germany's central and pivotal political role, but even more so because of its fragmented character and inherent contradictions. The impossibility of comparing the extreme of war, genocide, and destruction with the opposite extreme of unprecedented prosperity, consumerism, and happiness is not just a central paradox in German history, but of the modern age itself.

    This course aims at fostering a critical understanding of the ruptures and continuities of the “extreme” 20th century with a cross-analysis of German and European political, social, and cultural history. Major themes will be the contest between democracy and dictatorship and the related tension between freedom and security in changing times under different political regimes. Other issues are the historical experiences of two World Wars and the “Cold War,” the emergence of “heroic” and “tragic” memories as well as the impact of these events on the life and memory of “ordinary people.” Since German history has been shaped heavily by the quest for a unifying national identity, we will examine the various modes of defining who is, and who is not, a “German.” We will also ask how the transformations in politics and culture affected the situations of men and women, younger people, and minorities.

    Film screenings and in-class discussions with invited guest speakers will be part of the course.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations