Prior to 1945, Germany was one of the US and the Soviet Union’s main enemies in two world wars, but this changed at the end of the 1940s when Germany was split into two and became the front-line of the Cold War, separating the capitalist West from the communist East of Europe. West Germany became one of the most reliable allies of the US, while its eastern part looked at Moscow for answers.

In this course, students will turn back time and start in 1945 and investigate how this change from a conflict-ridden nation to an important ally for the US (West Germany) and for the Soviet Union (East Germany) was possible and how it played out over time. Students will compare the two German nations that grew out of the ruins of World War II and study their different ideologies, their social and political cultures, and the roles that the US and the Soviet Union played in the two German states. They will also analyze how it finally was possible to tear down the Wall (peacefully) by tracing changes that occurred in the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Finally, they will examine what conflicts and issues resulted from the German Reunification that is still present today more than 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and how Germany is an important player in world politics (e.g. Russia-Ukraine Conflict).

No previous knowledge of German language required. Taught in English.