What is the course about?
Lasting barely half a century, Imperial Germany was characterised by an extraordinary dynamic that saw the country transformed into a predominantly urban, industrial society. The course will chart the forces propelling Germany into the modern age as well as the forces that held it back. The quest for national integration was characterised by complex processes of inclusion and exclusion (of religious and national minorities or the working class), while the tension between a precarious stability and global ambitions made for erratic politics.
What will we cover?
You will learn a lot about the Kaiser and his people: how the balance of power between monarch and parliament gradually changed; how a conflict between the state and the Catholic Church unfolded and how cultural Protestantism shaped modern German culture; how the legal emancipation and upward social mobility of the Jews was accompanied by the emergence of political antisemitism; how the social consequences of industrialisation and urbanisation gave rise to the labour movement and the beginnings of a welfare state; to what extent an uncontested national identity emerged and why the “woman question” remained unsolved; how colonial rivalry and the naval armaments race destabilised the international balance of power; and finally, why the Imperial regime became gradually delegitimised during the First World War and eventually crumbled.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Understand the reasons for Imperial Germany’s rapid rise to pre-eminence in Europe as well as the consequences of its profound structural flaws. Social, economic and cultural modernity co-existed with relative political backwardness, resulting in a somewhat tenuous equilibrium that proved unable to withstand the pressures of total wa.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is aimed at interested students of all backgrounds. No knowledge of German or other
special skills are required.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will take the form of ten two-hour sessions, combining lectures and video presentations with interactive elements such as source interpretation and general class discussions.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There are no other costs, and students needn’t bring anything apart from an open mind and a readiness to learn.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
HBH814 Politics, society and culture in Weimar Germany (1918-1933).