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History of Germany, from Bismarck to the Berlin Republic (HI290)

Module Convenor: Dr Colin Storer


Office: Dr Storer: FAB3.67

Office hours: 

  • Monday 2-3 (in person)
  • Wednesday 10-11 (on Teams)
Lectures (2021-2):
  • Monday 12-1pm FAB2.43
Seminars (2021-2):
  • Tuesday 10-11am FAB4.79
  • Tuesday 2-3pm FAB3.33
  • Tuesday 3-4pm FAB4.73
Module Overview:

Today we are used to thinking of Germany as a peaceful, prosperous and stable democracy, at the heart of Europe politically and economically as well as geographically. But for much of its modern history the picture was very different. A comparative latecomer to statehood, in the 170 years of its existence as a nation-state Germany experienced a dramatic transformation from a maverick to a model state which took in war, dictatorship, occupation and division, as well as rapid industrial development (twice), a dynamic civil society and intense cultural and intellectual experimentation.

This 30 CATS optional second year undergraduate module examines the history of Germany from Unification in 1871 to the Berlin Republic which came into being after reunification in 1990. Students will consider the political, social and cultural history of modern Germany from a variety of historical perspectives in order to understand why in Germany the past is so important to an understanding of the present. We will look at the rise and fall of political ideas and regimes, economic developments, issues of citizenship and ethnicity, attitudes towards gender and sexuality, and how all these affected the lives of ordinary Germans. Along the way, students will have the opportunity to conduct their own research and write a piece of Germany's history.

Student Feedback:
  • "I've found it great, all aspects have been enjoyable" (2020-21)
  • "The seminars were really well-structured and organised with productive and engaging discussions. This was
    supplemented by the lectures which were useful and gave a good overview of some quite broad topics." (2020-21)
  • "Quality of seminars excellent, discussion is by far the most engaging and enriching of any module I've been
    in." (2020-21)
  • "Excellent teaching. By far the best seminar out of all my modules in terms of delivery, structure and scope for debate." (2018/19)
  • "The lectures are almost perfect" (2018/19)
  • "Well organised lecture and seminar programme that is clearly way ahead of the rest of the department in terms of quality and efficiency." (2018/19)
  • "I’m learning topics that I have never encountered but they are explained in such a way that I can easily understand and engage." (2018/19)
  • "The reading is also appropriate and not too lengthy. It is a reasonable amount to do per week in comparison with other modules." (2018/19)
Key Links:

Please note that the module code for this module was previously 'HI136', but was amended to 'HI290' in the summer of 2015 for the start of the 2015/16 academic year.


Demonstrating Communists 1920s

Women amidst the Rubble