Winter 2017 -- History 214: Germany, 1914-2000 -- Prof. Patch

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Modern Germany has achieved some of the world's most impressive successes in economic development, science and scholarship, the arts, urban planning, and welfare policy, but it also played a key role in causing two world wars and was responsible for the Holocaust.  Some scholars regard the Nazi seizure of power as an aberration in German history, but others argue that it reflected deep-seated and long-lasting authoritarian currents in German culture and structural flaws in German society.  Questions also persist as to whether Germans carried out a thorough purge after 1945 of those who shared responsibility for Nazi war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Now that the Federal Republic of Germans has flourished for sixty years, however, it must be acknowledged that the German people accomplished a remarkable transition to democracy after 1945 that can serve as a role model for other fledgling democracies around the globe.  Our topics in this course will include the successes and shortcomings of the German Revolution of 1918/19, new welfare programs and cultural experiments under the Weimar Republic, the causes of the failure of democracy during the Great Depression, the mentality of the Nazis and institutions of the regime which they created in 1933, the extent to which the German people supported the criminal policies of the Third Reich, the impact of the introduction of women's suffrage in 1919 and enduring forms of discrimination against women, the strategies adopted after 1945 to place democracy on a secure foundation, and the causes and consequences of the collapse of the Communist East German regime in 1989.  By the semester's end we should learn some lessons from German history that can be applied to other countries today where democracy is still an experiment, and people feel tempted to embrace aggressive forms of nationalism or political religions.

Click on the links above to e-mail me, Professor William Patch, or access the course syllabus, suggested term paper topics (bibliography), class handouts, and image galleries we have viewed in class.  Scroll down for reference maps and links to valuable websites for German history.

My office is Newcomb 219.

Office Hours (Winter 2015): Monday and Wednesday, 2:30-4:14, and Friday, 11:15-12:15.

The "First Reich" in the Year 1000

The "Second Reich" founded in 1871

Territorial Losses in 1919

The Nazi Empire in 1942

Allied Occupation Zones in 1945

Germany Today


Click on these links for valuable online resources:

German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C. (images and documents, in English)

German Historical Museum, Berlin: Lebendiges Museum Online (in German)