Chris Danziger, lecturer

Monday 15–Friday 19 January 9.15 am COURSE FEES R550; Staff and students R275

For 1500 years the Germans were the most numerous and prosperous nation in Europe, but politics never reflected that dominance. Leaders like Metternich never wanted it to do so. The reality is that until 1866, Germany was an underpowered collection of small states. The way in which Bismarck restructured them shaped their ambitions for three generations. It gave the Germans delusions of grandeur which flattered to deceive. As a result, by 1945 Germany was shattered and divided into four zones of occupation. Post-war Germany might well have become demoralised by military defeat. Instead, it reverted to its traditional values of hard work and high standards, and under a series of pragmatic Chancellors from Adenauer to Merkel, established a different but enigmatic identity during the Cold War and post-Soviet eras.

Lecture titles

  1. The First Reich: Germany until 1815
  2. Bismarck and realpolitik: 1815–1890
  3. The Second Reich and the Weimar Republic: Germany 1890–1933
  4. The Third Reich: 1933–1945
  5. Rebirth and Merkantilism: 1945–2020


Recommended reading

Craig G. 1980. Germany 1866–1945. Oxford University Press. Kampfner J. 2020. Why the Germans do it better. Atlantic Books. Kershaw I. 2000. Hitler: profiles of power. Longmans.

Stern F. 2006. Five Germanys I have known. Farrar Strauss.

Taylor A.J.P. 1985. Bismarck: The Man and the Statesman. Hamish Hamilton.