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HISTORY 2II3 ModernGermany

Academic Year: Winter 2017

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Pamela Swett

Email: swettp@mcmaster.ca

Office: Chester New Hall 624

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24142


Office Hours: Wed. 11-1 pm or by appt.

Course Objectives:

The 20th century was one of monumental change and catastrophe for Germany. The extent to which Germany affected people’s lives around the globe in the past century was so far-reaching that it has even been proposed that the last one hundred years be considered "the German century." I suggest we keep this provocative statement in the back of our minds as we learn about Germany’s past from early industrialization to the machinery of genocide, from the difficulties of reuniting men and women after the First World War to the difficulties of reuniting East and West Germans after 1989. Our goal will be to understand equally the political and social origins and consequences of these events, as well as the motivations and actions of individual Germans in shaping their nation’s (and perhaps the world’s) recent history.

Students will leave the course having gained:

-- greater knowledge of German and European history

-- experience formulating and fine-tuning historical analyses in class discussion and written assignments

-- skills decoding and interpreting primary and secondary sources.


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

The following books are available at the campus bookstore for purchase.

Dietrich Orlow, A History of Modern Germany

Choose one of the following two novels:

Eric Kästner, Going to the Dogs or Irmgard Keun, Gilgi

Method of Assessment:

Each student will write three analytical papers on topics provided by the instructor to be posted on Avenue to Learn. The two short essays will be 800-1000 words each; the longer essay will be 1600-2000 words. The final exam will be two hours long, scheduled by the registrar’s office. 

The grade breakdown is as follows: tutorial participation (15%), short essays (2x15%), longer paper (30%), final exam (25%).

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

The penalty for work handed in after the due date without prior arrangement with the instructor is 3% per day, including weekends.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Below is a list of weekly themes:

Bismarck’s Legacy and Germany at the end of the 19th century

The Quest for Empire and Germany’s road to war

The First World War

The Weimar Republic: From Crisis to Stability

The End of the Republic

National Socialism: Movement and Ideology

National Socialism in Power

World War Two and the Holocaust

The Founding of West Germany and Life in the FRG before 1961

The Founding of East Germany and Life in the GDR before 1961

The Two Germanies in the 1970s and 1980s

The Revolution of 1989 and Life after Reunification

Other Course Information:

Full course syllabus will be provided in class and posted on ATL before the start of term.