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Home > History home > Prospective students > Undergraduate > Berlin: A European Metropolis in the Twentieth Century
More in this section Third Year Courses

Berlin: A European Metropolis in the Twentieth Century


Value: two units


Dr Rudolf Muhs


Taught through weekly two-hour seminars and supervisions of dissertation through a series of 1 to-1 meetings


Taught unit: Oral Assessment (10%); Best 2 Pieces of Work out of 4 (20%) and 3-hour Exam (70%); dissertation unit: 10,000-word dissertation (100%) 

NB Not to be taken in conjunction with Group 2 course unit: HS2264 Nationalism, Democracy and Minorities in Central Europe, 1918-1939


Berlin was one of the focal points in the history of the 20th century. The notions associated with the German capital appear far from unequivocal, though. Across Europe and the world it served, and continues to serve, as a byword for both modernity and decadence; for civic pride and civil unrest, reactionary as well as progressive movements; for war and genocide; for tyranny, but also for freedom and, above all, for the unexpected turn of events. Based on a wide and diverse range of primary source material (from diplomatic documents and political discourses via journalistic, autobiographical and literary texts to cabaret songs and feature films), the course extends, chronologically, from the making of metropolitan Berlin before 1914 to the ramifications of reunification after 1990. Topics include, among others: Berlin society, its classes, milieus and communities; women across the decades and regimes; high culture and (ethnic, artistic, sexual and criminal) subcultures; the built environment from Wilhelmine grandeur, Republican sobriety, Nazi and Communist showcase architecture to post-war and post-wall reconstruction; the flowering of Jewish Berlin and its extinction; revolution, counter-revolution and the 'golden twenties'; political activism in the Weimar, Nazi and Communist eras; anti-fascist resistance, East Berlin dissent and West Berlin non-conformism; conquest, occupation and division; four-power-status, cold war and détente; the Wall and its fall; in short - everything from high politics to low life. 


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