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HI290 - History of Germany from Bismarck to the Berlin Republic

  • Module code: HI290
  • Module name: History of Germany from Bismarck to the Berlin Republic
  • Department: History
  • Credit: 15, 30

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

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 optional second year undergraduate module examines the history of Germany from Unification in 1871 to the Berlin Republic of Angela Merkel. 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.

Principal learning outcomes

 A basic understanding of the trajectory of modern German history  Familiarity with a range of sources relating to modern German history.  The ability to engage critically with different historiographical perspectives on modern German history.  Experience of conducting your own research on an aspect of modern German history.  The ability to construct and communicate your own ideas about modern German history through seminar discussions and essay writing.

Departmental link

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
15 CATS (Module code: HI290-15)
A1 (Assessed work only) 1000 word essay plan (V1L8 students) 40%
  3000 word essay (V1L8 students) 50%
  Oral Participation 10%
30 CATS (Module code: HI290-30)
D (Assessed/examined work) Long essay 40%
  Oral Participation 10%
  2 hour examination (Summer) 40%
VA (Visiting students only) 100% assessed visiting/exchange (PART YEAR) (NOT IN USE) 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core


  • Undergraduate History (V100) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate History and Philosophy (V1V5) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate History, Literature and Cultures of the Americas (V230) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate History and Sociology (VL13) - Year 2
  • Undergraduate History and Politics (VM11) - Year 2