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Level 5

5AAH1016 Blood & Iron: The Forging of Modern Germany, 1806 to 1914

Credit value:15
Module convenor/tutor 2018/19: Dr Michael Rowe
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2-hour seminars (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 2 x 2,500 word essays (100%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years

Germany evolved in the course of the nineteenth century from a loose collection of territories under French domination into a unified state that by 1914 was Europe’s premier industrial and military power. Yet Germany’s stunningly swift progress towards modernity was not all that it seemed. The very speed of industrial development produced a social and political order that in many respects deviated from the pattern followed by Britain and France. In particular, the remarkable durability of the established landed elite, and its continued domination of the organs of the state – including especially the army – has long attracted historians interested more broadly in the process loosely described as ‘modernisation’. This module analyses the viability of the concept of a ‘normal’ path to ‘modernity’, and of Germany’s ‘deviation’ from it. In particular, it considers whether it is fair to conclude that Germany’s parliamentary institutions were unviable, and whether this was a product of Germany’s belated national unification and rapid industrialisation.

Provisional teaching plan

  1. Germany’s First Reich
  2. defeat, Reform, Resurgence
  3. Liberalism, Nationalism, Romanticism
  4. Revolution
  5. Industrialisation
  6. War
  7. Germany’s Second Reich
  8. Culture Wars 
  9. Germany and the Wider World
  10. A German Sonderweg?

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these books is not mandatory.

David Blackbourn, The long nineteenth century : a history of Germany, 1780-1918 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998) You need not buy this excellent book, as this is available as an e-book through the Maughan Library.

German History in Documents and Images (GHDI) is a comprehensive collection of primary source materials documenting Germany's political, social, and cultural history from 1500 to the present. GHDI is an initiative of the German Historical Institute, Washington, DC.         



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