Lecture 2: What is Germany?: Three Reichs, Three Democracies
Roll-call and enrollment
Syllabus; web site: www.history.ucsb.edu/classes/w00/hist133c
Books and reader: any availability problems?
Study questions for Schlink, The Reader
Did Hanna rescue (temporarily) her prisoner-readers, or murder them?
In 1945 Hanna was 22 years old. Should she have freed the women in the
Did she incur any guilt or responsibility (what's the difference?) towards
the boy she seduced?
At the end of the story, the narrator feels and is held responsible for
Where does this responsibility come from? How does it arise? Is he
guilty in any way?
Why does the narrator only send impersonal tapes of books but never contact
Hanna during all those years in prison?
How does this novel reflect, as a metaphor, postwar Germany's burdens of
If this personal story reflects something about broader society, how might
we expect the postwar German social collective to respond its inheritances
The Farmer in the Dell theory of causality in history
Economic success or failure (Marx: historical materialism)
Elite support and leaders (great men make history)
Ideology and culture (moving the masses "from above")
Opposition (individual moral choice)
Overview of "German" History
"Holy Roman Empire" (800) "of the German nation" (1200)
Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation (1520s)
Thirty Years War (1618-1648)
Habsburg (Austria) and Hohenzollern (Prussia) dynasties
Dissolved by Napoleon in 1806, resurrected Congress of Vienna in 1815
1848 revolution; "large German" and "small German" solutions
Attempt to establish a "democratic" constitutional monarchy
1866-71: Bismarck establishes the "Second Reich" through three wars
"Second industrial revolution" and long economic depression, 1874-1893
Rise of mass participation in politics, especially Social Democrats
Imperial aspirations of Kaiser (Emperor) William II, 1888-1918
1918 sailor's mutiny turns into a popular revolution, Weimar democracy
Incomplete Revolution, elites retain their status
Economic difficulties: treaty terms and hyperinflation, Great Depression
1933-34 Adolf Hitler undermines republic and establishes 'Third Reich"
1949: Founding of two nominal democracies under US and Soviet auspices
Small groups: What are the five most important events in German history?