Restless Nation: Germany in the 20th Century

This module gives a broad thematic overview of the history of Germany in the twentieth century. Few country’s histories have been more tumultuous over the past two centuries than that of Germany. Rapid industrialisation, varied federal traditions, revolutions, the launching of and defeat in two world wars, responsibility for war crimes and genocide on an unparalleled scale, foreign occupation and re-education, and political division for four decades have made German history, and the ways in which Germans have remembered it, contentious and of broad public concern. In few countries have visions of the nation's history been so varied and contested, and few peoples have created and faced such challenges when confronting their 'transient' or 'shattered' past.

In order to provide a thematic focus, this module will examine in particular the reasons for the rise of National Socialism, the character of National Socialism, and the difficulties of the Federal Republic of Germany to deal with its difficult and contentious past, that is the attempt at 'coming to terms with the past' (Vergangenheitsbewltigung).