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Unit information: Divided Germany in 2015/16

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Unit name Divided Germany
Unit code GERM22037
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Allinson
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of German
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will draw on a variety of materials (including contemporary documents and audiovisual resources) to introduce students to the postwar history of Germany, focusing particularly on: the political and foreign policy considerations which led to the formal division of Germany into two separate states (the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic) between 1949 and 1990; the political structures and history of both states; the establishment of different societal norms in East and West Germany during the period of the country's division; the challenges of creating a united society in Germany since 1990; the evolving concept of national identity since 1945.


  • To introduce students to a significant body of knowledge of a complexity appropriate to second year level. The content matter will normally include one or more of the following: literature; social, cultural or political history; linguistics; cultural studies; film, television or other media.
  • To facilitate students' engagement with a body of literature, including secondary literature, texts, including in non-print media, primary sources and ideas as a basis for their own analysis and development. Normally many or most of these sources will be in a language other than English and will enhance the development of their linguistic skills.
  • To develop further skills of synthesis, analysis and independent research, building on the skills acquired in units at level C.
  • Some options may prepare students for the experience of the Year Abroad.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful students will:

  • be knowledgeable about a significant cultural, historical or linguistic subject related to the language they are studying;
  • be skilled in the selection and synthesis of relevant material;
  • be able to evaluate and analyse relevant material from a significant body of source materials, usually in a foreign language, at a high level;
  • be able to respond to questions or problems by presenting their independent judgements in an appropriate style and at an high level of complexity;
  • be able to transfer these skills to other working environments, including study at a foreign university and on work placements during the year abroad.

Teaching Information

1 x 2hr slot weekly

Assessment Information

Two written assignments of 2000 words (50% each)

Reading and References

A full reading list will be issued at the beginning of the unit, and further materials will be made available on a unit website.

In the meantime, you will find it helpful to read one of the following:

  • Mary Fulbrook, History of Germany 1918-2000: The Divided Nation
  • Mary Fulbrook, German National Identity after the Holocaust