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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - bologna.lab - Neue Lehre. Neues Lernen

Berlin 1945-1990: The Divided City

Taught by Peter Mitchell

Friday, 12:00 - 16:00 (biweekly, starts 16 October 2015), Hausvogteiplatz 5-7, Room 0323-26

Course taught in English 

Language requirements: English B2


Course description

Straddling  the  Cold  War’s  frontline,  Berlin  has  stood  at  the  forefront  of  not  only 
German  history but of European and global developments as well.  The divided city symbolized and represented the global conflict between capitalism and socialism; the division of the world, Europe and Germany into East and West; and also the nature, structure and goals of their supporting, antagonistic world political systems. This course will prove insights into the key political developments in Berlin’s recent history from the fall of the Third Reich, through the decades of political and physical division, to the collapse of the Wall in 1989 and Germany’s subsequent reunification. What is more, the course will also explore post-­war Berlin’s social and cultural history, paying special attention to common themes, experiences and concerns that transcended the
city’s physical division, affecting Berliners on both sides of the Wall. The  course  is composed  of  eleven  seminars  and  three  excursions. Students  are  provided with suggested reading to prepare themselves for each session. 


  • Ahonen, Pertti, Death at the Berlin Wall (2011). 
  • Beevor, Antony. Berlin: the Downfall, 1945 (2003).
  • Brown, Timothy S. "“1968” East and West: Divided Germany as a Case Study in Transnational History." 
  • The American Historical Review 114, no. 1 (2009): 69-­‐96. 
  • Brown, Timothy S, “A Tale of two Communes: The Private and the Political in Divided Berlin, 1967-­‐1973,” in Martin Klimke, Jacco Pekelder, and Joachim Scharloth eds., Between The Prague Spring and the French May 1968: Transnational Exchange and National Recontextualization of Protest Cultures (2011). 
  • Harrison, Hope Millard. Driving the Soviets Up the Wall: Soviet-­‐East German Relations, 1953–1961 (2003). 
  • Jarausch, Konrad. The Rush to German Unity (1994). 
  • Karapin, Roger. Protest Politics in Germany : Movements on the Left and Right since The 1960s (2007). 
  • Ladd, Brian. The Ghosts of Berlin: Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape (1997). 
  • Large, David Clay. Berlin (2000). 
  • Maier, Charles S. Dissolution: The Crisis of Communism and the end of East Germany (1997). 
  • Moorhouse, Roger. Berlin at War: Life and Death in Hitler's Capital, 1939-­‐45 (2010). 
  • Richie, Alexandra. Faust's Metropolis: a History of Berlin (1998). 
  • Schneider, Peter. Wall Jumper: a Berlin Story (1998). 
  • Sperber, Jonathan. "17 June 1953: Revisiting a German Revolution," German History 22, no. 4 (2004): 619-­‐43. 
  • Steege, Paul. Black Market, Cold War: Everyday Life in Berlin, 1946-­‐1949 (2007). 
  • Strobel, Roland. "Before the Wall Came Tumbling Down:  Urban Planning Paradigm Shifts in a Divided Berlin." Journal of Architectural Education 46, no. 1 (1994): 25-­‐37.
  • Thomas, Nick. Protest Movements in 1960s West Germany: A Social History of Dissent and Democracy (2003). 
  • Tusa, Ann & John. The Berlin Airlift (1998).