Post war German history: 1945-1961

Course Dates: 17/01/24 - 20/03/24
Time: 19:30 - 21:00
Location: Online
This course offers a broad survey of German history from the end of the Second World War to the construction of the Berlin Wall at the height of the Cold war.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £179.00 Senior fee £179.00 Concession £116.00

Course Code: HEH29

Wed, eve, 17 Jan - 20 Mar '24

Duration: 10 sessions (over 10 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

With the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany in May 1945 the country’s fate was in the hands of the victorious allies whose agreed plans for the post-war settlement quickly led to estrangement and conflicts that brought the Soviet Union and the Western allies to the brink of war by 1948. Decades of tension known as the Cold War followed, causing two politically, economically and ideologically opposed states to emerge from the original zones of occupation. The division of Germany seemed complete and permanent with the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961. The question how exactly this happened, and why, is at the centre of this course that will explore both the national and the international dimensions of the period, the impersonal forces and the individual actors that shaped it and the experience of the people who lived through it.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

1.Allied post-war planning and the Potsdam Conference
2. German society in 1945
3. The challenges of (physical, political and moral) reconstruction
4. The emergence of the Cold War and the first Berlin crisis of 1948
5. The formation and consolidation of two German states
6. Coming to terms with the Nazi past
7. “Economic miracle” in the West and socialist transformation in the East
8. East Germany from the 1953 uprising to the migration crisis
9. Remilitarisation and European integration of West Germany
10. The second Berlin crisis 1958-61 and the building of The Wall.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Express an informed view about the causes and consequences of the Cold War;
• Identify the main features, leading personalities and key stages in the development of post-war Germany;
• Understand the reasons for the political, social, economic and cultural divergence of the two German states;
• Make sense of ongoing arguments and controversies concerning the division of Germany.

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 any other special skills set is required, but you will need to have access to a computer with wifi connection.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course will be taught online (via Zoom). The Google Classroom website for the course will contain plenty of online material for further study plus all PowerPoint presentations used in class.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no other costs, and students need not bring anything to class apart from an open mind and a readiness to learn.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

HEH31 Post war German history 1961 to reunification and beyond.

Rudolf Muhs

Dr. Rudolf Muhs, Emeritus Reader in Modern European History at Royal Holloway, University of London, studied at the universities of Freiburg and Edinburgh and has been teaching German history in England since 1987.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.