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History 349

HIST 349    
Modern Germany: From Bismarck through Hitler

Catalog Entry

HIST 349    
Modern Germany: From Bismarck through Hitler
Credit Hours: (3)

Prerequisite: Three hours of History at 100 level.

Study of German history from 1870 to 1945. Topics include Bismarck and national unification, World Wars I and II, Hitler and National Socialism.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

The major topics included in this course are: Bismarck and the Unification of Germany, the political setting of German industrialization, the response of Germany’s traditional elites and its middle class to social and economic ‘massification’, the relationship between foreign and domestic policies prior to World War I, World War II, support for – and opposition to - the Weimer Republic, ‘modern’ society and culture before and after 1933, Nazi Germany, World War II, and the Holocaust.

1. The Unification of Germany
    a. Austria and Prussia
    b. Bismarck
    c. The Wars of Unification
2. The Revolution from Above
    a. Consolidation of the Nation State
    b. Bismarck's Internal Policies
    c. Bismarck's System of Foreign Alliances
3. Characteristics of German Society
    a. The Industrial Revolution in Germany
    b. Labor, Capital and the State
    c. Social and Intellectual Life
    d. Political Traditions: Conservatism, Liberalism, Socialism, Marxism
4. Germany's New Course under William II
    a. Germany and the Rest of the World
    b. Germany's Attempt to Become a World Power
    c. The Drift Toward War
5. World War I
    a. Military Stalemate in the West and East
    b. War Aims
    c. Total War and the Home Front
    d. Germany's Defeat and the Treaty of Versailles
6. The Revolution of 1918-1919
    a. The November Revolution
    b. The Spartacist Uprising
    c. Challenge from the Conservatives
7. The Weimar Republic
    a. Politics: Democracy in Crisis
    b. Economic Malaise and Dislocation
    c. Social and Cultural Life
8. National Socialism in Germany
    a. The Historical Roots of Nazism
    b. The Rise of Adolf Hitler
    c. The End of the Weimar Republic
9. Hitler's Third Reich
    a. Political and Racial Policies
    b. Social and Economic Developments
    c. Foreign Policy and Diplomacy to 1939
10. World War II - the Military Developments
    a. German Victories in the West
    b. Total War in the East
11. World War II - the German Home Front
    a. The Final Solution
    b. The German Resistance
    c. The German Economy
12. Total Defeat
    a. Occupation and Division
    b. Denazification
    c. The Federal Republic
    d. East Germany


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Class meets three hours per week. Assigned readings consist of a textbook and several additional books including primary and secondary sources. Class format is primarily lecture but also includes some discussions. Students are expected to write a paper on some aspect of German history.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

1. Students will practice thinking critically and analytically about historical issues, acquire a broader knowledge and deeper understanding of pertinent historical events and processes, and cultivate a familiarity with the concepts of historical argument and interpretation.
2. Students will develop disciplinary research skills by designing strategies to locate and analyze primary and secondary source evidence, processing and organizing the resultant data, and composing proper citation and bibliographical entries.
3. Students will apply their critical thinking, research, and compositional skills to the creation and presentation of thesis driven essays that discuss, for example, historical social, economic, political, and/or cultural developments and that address issues such as the causes and consequences of historical change and continuity.  
4.  Students will acquire the general knowledge of German history which is necessary to set in a meaningful context discussion of the process by which, during the early 20th century, Germany was transformed from a model of modern cultural, technological, and scientific development into the bastion of a totalitarian political system which promoted the “coordination” of the thoughts and feelings of every individual German, and the physical extermination of “inferior” populations.


Assessment Measures

Knowledge and understanding of the material covered in this course will be measured using an array of assessment tools that may include, among other things, class attendance and participation, written examinations, formal writing assignments of various types, and informal writing assignments. All exercises are designed to expand the student's ability to evaluate historical events and to develop his or her ability to compose persuasive arguments.


Other Course Information: None

Review and Approval
October 2010 Reviewed and Approved by Sharon A. Roger Hepburn, Chair


04/2011