The Two Germanys and the Cold War New title: Divided and United Germany Since 1945 History 3168, Fall 2015 The George Washington University this is a draft based on fall 2014, but the syllabus for fall 2015 will be quite similar


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The Two Germanys and the Cold War

New title: Divided and United Germany Since 1945

History 3168, Fall 2015

The George Washington University


Professor Hope M. Harrison Off. hrs: 1957 E St., Suite 412

Tues./Thurs. 11:10a.m.-12:25p.m. Tues. 1:30-5p.m., Thurs. 12:30-2p.m.

1957 E St., Room 112 And by appointment

e-mail: Phone : (202) 994-5439

Course Description:

Germany was at the center of the Cold War and is at the center of European power today. The division of Germany reflected and deepened the Cold War, and the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of Germany helped end (and symbolized the end of) the Cold War. October 3, 2015 will be the 25th anniversary of German unification. I expect there to be a variety of extra-curricular activities that class may be involved in related to this.

This course examines a variety of issues concerning communist East Germany (the German Democratic Republic, GDR) and democratic, capitalist West Germany (the Federal Republic of Germany, FRG) in the Cold War. We will study how the outside world (especially the four powers--the U.S., USSR, Great Britain, and France) treated Germany/the Germanys; how the GDR and FRG treated each other; domestic developments in the GDR and FRG; relations between the GDR and its communist allies; and relations between the FRG and its capitalist allies. All of these issues were of course intertwined. We will devote particular attention to East Germany. The course will also investigate developments in Germany since unification 25 years ago. The question of German identity will be a recurring one in the class and will include the consideration of how Germany has dealt with its Nazi and communist pasts and how it handles immigrants.

We will study issues such as the following: in the occupation of Germany after World War II, which policies worked to make the Germans friends and which policies alienated the Germans? Are there lessons from this experience for other cases of military occupation? What was the interaction between the broader East-West Cold War and developments within Germany? How much independence did the two Germanys have in their domestic and foreign policies? How dependent were they on their superpower allies, the US and the Soviet Union? Were there times when the Germans could influence the policies of the superpowers? Why was Germany divided? Why did it stay divided for 40 years? Why was the Berlin Wall built, and why did it fall? What caused the downfall of East Germany and the unification of East and West Germany? What were the differences between democratic, capitalist West Germany and communist East Germany? How difficult or easy has it been to unite the two parts of Germany? Are there lessons for North and South Korea or not? What legacies of division remain in united Germany? What are the ways in which German history influences German foreign and domestic policy today? What are debates in Germany now about the role Germany should play in the world, including in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia?

Learning Outcomes:

As a result of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Think critically about German history and realize that history is not just dates and names—it is an understanding of what factors caused key historical events;

  2. Describe and analyze key moments in German history and foreign policy since 1945, such as why Germany was divided, why it remained divided for 40 years and why it reunited;
  3. Assess options for dealing with an adversary in international affairs as the two Germanys did with each other for 40 years;

  4. Understand the connections between local/regional politics and broader global politics and trends in the case of Germany, Europe and the world;

  5. Compare and contrast life in East Germany and West Germany;

  6. Comprehend the historical background to contemporary Germany and how 40 years of division still affect life in Germany; and

  7. Describe and compare how Germany has dealt with two difficult parts of its past—the 13-year Nazi period and the 40-year communist period.

Academic Integrity

All work that you hand in for this class must be the product of your own labors for this class. I support the GW Code of Academic Integrity. It states: “Academic dishonesty is defined as cheating of any kind, including misrepresenting one's own work, taking credit for the work of others without crediting them and without appropriate authorization, and the fabrication of information.” For the remainder of the code, see:

Support for Students Outside the Classroom


Any student who may need an accommodation based on the potential impact of a disability should contact the Disability Support Services office at 202-994-8250 in the Marvin Center, Suite 242, to establish eligibility and to coordinate reasonable accommodations. For additional information please refer to:


The University Counseling Center (UCC) offers 24/7 assistance and referral to address students' personal, social, career, and study skills problems. Services for students include:

  • crisis and emergency mental health consultations

  • confidential assessment, counseling services (individual and small group), and referrals
Security Procedures

In the case of an emergency, if at all possible, the class should shelter in place. If the building that the class is in is affected, follow the evacuation procedures for the building. After evacuation, meet across the street in the park on E Street or at another assigned rendezvous location.

Requirements and Grading:

10%: attendance and participation in class discussion. Please note that 3 classes will be largely discussion classes focused on books read for class that day: Sept. 23, Oct. 7 & Nov. 18.

20%: 3 out of 4 quizzes in class on Sept. 16, Sept. 30, Oct. 23 & Nov. 18. (I will take the 3 best grades from the 4 quizzes.)

35%: midterm exam in class on Thursday Oct. 9.

35%: 15-page paper due on Friday Dec. 12 in my office by 2pm. Your paper topic may focus on any aspect of Germany since 1945 and must be approved by the professor. The one-paragraph topic proposal is due in class on Oct. 21. A two-page outline and a one-page preliminary bibliography are due in class on Tues. Nov. 25. PLEASE NOTE: I MAY HAVE A FINAL EXAM INSTEAD OF A PAPER IN FALL 2015.
Class policies:

  • Attendance is required in this class. You must contact me in advance if you are going to miss a class.

  • Phones, Blackberrys, Laptops (exceptions allowed only with DSS note), etc. are not permitted to be used in the classroom. They distract the person using them and others nearby from concentrating on the class.

Required Reading for Purchase:

Henry Ashby Turner, Jr., Germany from Partition to Reunification. New Haven: Yale University

Press, 1992.

Hope M. Harrison, Driving the Soviets up the Wall: Soviet-East German Relations, 1953-1961.

Princeton University Press, 2004.

Peter Schneider, The Wall Jumper. A Berlin Story. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983.

Mary Elise Sarotte, 1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe. Princeton Univ. Press,


Mary Elise Sarotte, The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall. NY: Basic

Books, 2014.

Jana Hensel, After the Wall: Confessions from an East German Childhood and the Life that Came Next. Translated by Jefferson Chase. Public Affairs, October 26, 2004.
In addition to the books, there also will be required reading of articles and book chapters available on-line via Blackboard. Please check Blackboard for every class.

Other Sources on-line:

* The Cold War International History Project (CWIHP):

This includes articles and documents from the CWIHP Bulletin and Working Papers, including much about Germany.

*German History in Documents and Images (GHDI), a collection of original historical materials documenting German history. The final three sections are relevant for the class: 1945-61, 1961-89, & 1989-2009.
* the National Security Archive, located on the 7th floor of Gelman, and their website:

At the National Security Archive in Gelman, you can find all sorts of documents on the Cold War in English, Russian, German and other languages, arranged by subject. On the website, you can also find some documents and other useful information.

* collections of State Department documents, including on Germany, published in the Foreign Relations of the United States series, available at Gelman. Some volumes are available on-line at
*the Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security has many documents on the two Cold War alliances: NATO and the Warsaw Pact:
Course Schedule:

Tues. Aug. 26 Introduction and discussion of the issue of German identity across time

Thurs. Aug. 28 1945-49: The End of World War II, the Occupation of Germany, the Marshall Plan, and the Berlin Blockade and Airlift

Chronology and Maps, BB. (Most classes will have a chronology available on BB.)

Turner, Germany from Partition to Reunification, pp. 1-32. BB

David P. Conradt, The German Polity, 6th ed., NY: Longman, 1996, pp. 1-17. BB

The Marshall Plan: Excerpts from Secretary of State George C. Marshall’s Speech at Harvard University, June 5, 1947. BB

Tues. Sept. 2 & Thurs. Sept. 4 1949-1961: The Creation of Two German States in 1949, Konrad Adenauer, Walter Ulbricht, two different systems, West European Integration, NATO, the East German Stasi, the West German economic miracle.

Chronology. BB

Turner book, pp. 33-54 from Ch. 2, pp. 55-73 from Ch. 3, and pp. 104-133 from Ch. 4.

Harrison, Driving the Soviets up the Wall, Introduction, pp. 1-11.

Tues. Sept. 9 The 1950s and Crises in East Germany and Elsewhere

Turner book, pp. 73-87.

Harrison, Driving the Soviets up the Wall, Chapters 1 & 2.

Documents available on Blackboard (bring these to class for discussion):

* The New Course, "On Measures for the Recovery of the Political Situation in the GDR" from Cold War International History Project (CWIHIP) Bulletin 10;

* The Report to the Soviet Leadership, "On the events of 17-19 June in Berlin and GDR and certain conclusions from these events," CWIHP Bulletin 5; and

* The Report to the SED Central Committee, "Analysis of the Preparation, the Outbreak and the Suppression of the Fascist Adventure' from 16-22.6.53," CWIHP Bulletin 5.

Thurs. Sept. 11 & Tues. Sept. 16 1958-1961: The Berlin Crisis and the Berlin Wall

Chronology, BB.

Berlin Wall maps and diagrams, BB.

Turner book, pp. 86-95.

Harrison, Driving the Soviets up the Wall, Ch’s 3-4 & Conclusion.

Quiz #1 in class on Tues. Sept. 16


Harrison, "Inside the SED Archives: A Researcher's Diary," CWIHP Bulletin,

Issue 2, Fall 1992, pp. 20, 28-32. BB. This tells about my experiences as one of the first historians into the newly opened, formerly top secret communist archives in Moscow and Berlin.

Conversation between Ulbricht and Khrushchev on Aug. 1, 1961 about building the Berlin Wall, translated and introduced by Hope M. Harrison, CWIHP e-dossier #23, August 2011:

Kara Stibora Fulcher, “A Sustainable Position? The United States, the Federal Republic, and the Ossification of Allied Policy on Germany, 1958-1962,” Diplomatic History, Vol. 26, No. 2 (Spring 2002), pp. 283-307. BB

Thurs. Sept. 18 1961-1973: From the Berlin Wall to Ostpolitik in West Germany and Victims of the Wall in East Germany

Chronology, 1961-1973. BB

Turner book, pp. 96-103,133-163.

Pertti Ahonen, Death at the Berlin Wall, Ch’s 1 & 2. BB

Tues. Sept. 23 The Stasi, the East German secret police: why people spied on each other (too much reading!)

Discussion class.

Jens Gieseke with Doris Hubert, The GDR State Security: Shield and Sword of the Party (Berlin: The Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the Former GDR), 17 pages excerpted. BB Read this first before reading Ash’s book.

Timothy Garton Ash, The File. Whole book.

We will also discuss the film “The Lives of Others” by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (on BB available for live streaming). Please be ready to discuss the multiple and contradictory ways the Stasi is portrayed in the film. The film is set in 1984 in East Germany. You may be interested to know the real story of the dealings with the Stasi of two of the leads in the film. If you are, you can read the following: Peter Schneider, “The Stasi Legacy” in Berlin Now: The City after the Wall, translated by Sophie Schlondorff (NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014), pp. 179-193. BB

Optional: There is another German film, “Barbara” by Christian Petzold, which portrays life in East Germany and the oppression of the Stasi. It was nominated in 2012 for the best foreign film Oscar, and it won the Best Director prize at the Berlin film festival in 2012. The film is set in the 1980s.

Thurs. Sept. 25 West German protests and violence, 1960s and 1970s

Chronology. BB

Turner, pp. 163-167.

M. Fulbrook, “Dissent and Opposition,” pp. 236-243, in A History of Germany, 1918-2008: The Divided Nation. BB

N. Thomas, Protest Movements in 1960s West Germany: A Social History of Dissent and Democracy, Ch’s 6 and 8-11. BB

Optional: There are 2 films that have been made about the violence of the Baader-Meinhof Gang/the RAF in West Germany. One is "The Baader-Meinhof Complex" by Uli Edel, a 2008 German film which was nominated in the US for an Oscar in 2009. I think it is available on Netflix with instant streaming. The other film is "The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: How Violence Arises and Where it Can Lead" by Volker Schlondorff and Margarete von Trotta (1975 film) based on the 1974 novel by Heinrich Boell (also available in English). Netflix also has the film.

Tues. Sept. 30 Handling the Nazi Past in East and West Germany

Quiz #2 in class

Chronology. BB

Jeffrey Herf, “The emergence and legacies of divided memory: Germany and the Holocaust since 1945,” in Jan-Werner Müller, ed., Memory and Power in Post-War Europe (NY: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2002), pp. 184-205. BB

Jeffrey Herf, Divided Memory, Ch. 9, “Politics and Memory since the 1960s,” pp. 334-372. BB

GHI 2-page summary of the impact of “Holocaust” in West Germany. BB

In class viewing of excerpts from the US TV series “Holocaust” (NBC Emmy award winning mini-series by Robert Berger, April 1978) which aired in West Germany in Jan. 1979.

Thurs. Oct. 2 The 1970s and 1980s in the FRG and GDR, including the buying free (Freikauf) of political prisoners, the Helsinki CSCE process, the second cold war and Gorbachev.

Chronology, 1972-1990. BB

Turner book, pp. 163-224.

Ash, In Europe's Name, pp. 141-189. BB In this reading, focus on what levers of power East and West Germany each had over each other.

Tues. Oct. 7 Life in Divided Berlin.

Discussion class.

Peter Schneider's novel, The Wall Jumper, published 1983. Whole book.

Be prepared to discuss in class the questions about the book posted on BB.
Oct. 14-16 The Collapse of the GDR and the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Chronology. BB.

Turner book, pp. 224-239.

Hope M. Harrison, Driving the Soviets Up the Wall, “Preface”.

Mary Elise Sarotte, The Collapse. Whole book.

On Blackboard before class, watch the documentary film on the fall of the Wall: “When the Wall Came Tumbling Down: 50 Hours that Changed the World” by Hans-Hermann Hertle.

Optional: For some of the important documents on the fall of the Wall, including the world-changing press conference of Nov. 9, 1989, read Hans-Hermann Hertle, "The Fall of the Wall: The Unintended Self-Dissolution of the East German Ruling Regime." Cold War International History Project, Bulletin 12/13 (Fall/Winter 2001), pp. 131-164. BB

Tues. Oct. 21 and Thurs. Oct. 23 The German Unification Process and the 2 + 4 talks

Oct. 21, Paper topic proposal due in class, one paragraph.

Chronology of unification. BB.

Sarotte book, 1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe. Chapters 2-5.

Optional: Turner book, pp. 239-259.

Oct. 23, Quiz #3 in class

Tues. Oct. 28 and Thurs. Oct. 30 Challenges in United Germany’s Foreign Policy

Guest lectures by Prof. Karin Johnston, American University

Philip H. Gordon, “Berlin’s Difficulties: The Normalization of German Foreign Policy,” Orbis, Vo. 38, no. 2 (Spring 1994), pp. 622-631. BB

Timothy Garton Ash, “Germany’s Choice,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 73, no. 4 (July/Aug. 1994), pp. 65-81. BB

Nina Philippi, “Civilian Power and war: the German debate about out-of-area operations 1990-1999,” in Sebastian Harnisch and Hanns W. Maull, eds., Germany as a Civilian Power? The foreign policy of the Berlin Republic (NY: Manchester University Press, 201), pp. 49-67.

Paul Belkin, “German Foreign and Security Policy: Trends and Transatlantic Implications,” Congressional Research Service, May 20, 2009.

President Joachim Gauck, “Germany’s role in the world: Reflections on responsibility, norms and alliances,” speech at the opening of the Munich Security Conference, Jan. 31, 2014.

“German foreign policy: No more shirking. Is Germany ready to have a foreign policy proportionate to its weight?” The Economist, Feb. 8, 2014.

Christoph Strack, “Opinion: Listen carefully when Germany’s president speaks,” Deusche Welle, June 16, 2014.

Tues. Nov. 4 Immigration and Identity in United Germany

Guest lecture by Jennifer Windell of the Goethe Institute

Simon Green, "Germany: A Changing Country of Immigration," German Politics 22, no. 3 (September 2013), pp. 333-351. BB

Naika Foroutan, Identity and Muslim Integration in Germany (Washington, D.C.: Migration Policy Institute, 2013). BB

Özlem Gezer, Peter Müller, Maximilian Popp and Jörg Schindler, “Dual Citizenship: Merkel Government Ponders Who Is a German,” Der Spiegel, Februrary 5, 2014. BB

Tues. Nov. 11 German commemoration and memory of the Berlin Wall, 1989-2014

Chronology. BB

Hope M. Harrison, “The Berlin Wall and its Resurrection as a Site of Memory,” German Politics and Society, Issue 99, Vol. 29, No. 2 (Summer 2011), pp. 78-106. BB

Ladd, Introduction and Ch. 1 of The Ghosts of Berlin, pp. 1-39. BB

Peter Schneider, “What happened to the Wall, anyway?” in Schneider, Berlin Now: The City after the Wall, transl. by Sophie Schlondorrf (NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014), pp. 154-164. BB

Anna Saunders, “Remembering Cold War Division: Wall Remnants and Border Monuments in Berlin,” Journal of Contemporary European Studies, Vol. 17, no. 1 (Apr. 2009), pp. 9-19. BB

Bill Niven, “Prison cells and the Wall: what remains of the GDR,” from Facing the Nazi Past, pp. 57-61. BB.

Articles on Wall plan (with pictures). BB

Articles on Hildebrandt’s crosses. BB

Thurs. Nov. 13 The Ongoing Internal Process of Unification, 1990-2014

Chronology, 1990-2014. BB

Mary Fulbrook, “The Unexpected Afterlife of the GDR,” in A History of Germany, 1918-2008 (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), pp. 299-303. BB

Jeffrey Anderson, “The Federal Republic at 20,” German Politics & Society, Vol. 28, no. 2 (Summer 2010), pp. 17-31. BB

Nicholas Kulish, “With Wall Just a Memory, German Divisions Fade,” New York Times, Nov. 7, 2009. BB

Other articles will be added.

Tues. Nov. 18 a Personal East German Story of the Effects of German Unification

Discussion class.

Jana Hensel, After the Wall: Confessions from an East German Childhood and the Life that Came Next. Whole book. Be prepared to discuss in class the questions about the book posted on BB.

Quiz #4 in class

Thurs. Nov. 20 - Tues. Nov. 25 German debates on history and identity since unification—moving the capital from Bonn to Berlin, creating a German History Museum, supporting a Holocaust Memorial, commemorating German expellees and bombing victims from World War II, dealing with the East German past

Chronology. BB

Dirk Verheyen, Ch. 2 in United City, Divided Memories? Cold War Legacies in Contemporary Berlin. BB

Mary Fulbrook, “The past that still refuses to pass away?” in A History of Germany, 1918-2008, pp. 303-308.

Brian Ladd, “From Bonn to Berlin” in The Ghosts of Berlin (University of Chicago Press,

1997), pp. 224-228. BB

A. James McAdams, Judging the Past in Unified Germany (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2001), Ch’s 2-3, examining trials of former officials and dealing with the Stasi. BB

Tues. Nov. 25: Two-page outline and one-page preliminary bibliography due in class.
Thurs. Dec. 4 Last class. Conclusions. (no reading)
Final Paper due Fri. Dec. 12 by 2 p.m. in my office.


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