Terms: Autumn and Spring
Duration: 21 hours (10 lectures, 11 seminars)

Course Description

The aim of this module is to provide an overview of the history and politics of contemporary Germany. In terms of content, the module will introduce students to the key landmarks in German contemporary history, the most significant developments in the political life and culture of the two German states and the developments leading to and following their unification. The focus will be on developing an understanding of the main events, processes and ideas, which have shaped and influenced contemporary Germany and provide the backdrop to current problems and issues. In addition to providing students with the necessary background knowledge to pursue further study of the politics, society and culture of contemporary Germany, the module will also aim to equip students with appropriate skills to write their project during the year abroad. The language medium will be German and students will be trained in the vocabulary and idiom appropriate tothe discussion of historical and socio-cultural topics. They will also learn how to equip themselves with relevant up-to-date primary and secondary source materials, as well as how to analyse such material critically. The course consists of one 1-hour lecture/seminar per week and requires at least one hour of private study per week. The assessment will consist of an in-class writing task in the first term, a project and a viva. Students will be provided with a variety of up-to-date written and audio-visual documentation in German. In addition, they will be provided with a list of recommended reading material.


  • In-class writing task at the end of term 1 - 25%
  • 2300 word project to be submitted at the start of term 3 – 50%
  • 30-minute viva (to be arranged after the submission of the project) – 25%

 The course is moderated by an External Examiner. All marked work must be retained for resubmission at the end of the course.


Term 1

  • Germany in 1945 and the immediate post-war period
  • Germany and the Cold War
  • The division of Germany
  • Two German states, two systems
  • Economic recovery of the Federal Republic

Term 2

  • The Berlin Wall and the developments in both Germanies
  • Policies of détente: Willy Brandt and Ostpolitik
  • Reunification of the two German states
  • Unified Germany: the present situation
  • Germany, Europe and the changing World


Rupp, Hans Karl, Politische Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland,Munich/ Vienna: Oldenbourg Verlag, 2000.
Grosser,Alfred, Wie anders sind die Deutschen, Munich: Beck, 2002.
Weber, Hermann, Geschichte der DDR, Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, 1999.
Abelshauser, Werner, Deutsche Wirtschaftsgeschichte seit 1945, Munich: Beck, 2004.
Pulzer, Peter, German Politics 1945 –1995, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.
Lewis, Derek and McKenzie, John R. P. (eds.), The New Germany. Social, Political and Cultural Challenges of Unification,Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1995.
Head, David, The Corporate Identity of a Nation, London/Sydney/Auckland: Hodder & Stoughton, 1992.
Bönisch, Georg und Wiegrete, Klaus (eds.), Die 50er Jahre. Vom Trümmerland zum Wirtschaftswunder.München: Spiegel Buchverlag. 2007.
Fulbrook, Mary, Interpretation of the Two Germanies, Palgrave MacMillan, 2000.
O’Dochartaigh, Pol, Germany Since 1945,Basingstoke/New ork, Palgrave MacMillan, 2004
Fulbrook, Mary,History of Germany 1918-2000: The Divided Nation, Oxford: Blackwell, 2002.