Fall 2011 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Pfister, Debra
Discipline and Number
HIST 4344 Section 501
T Time 7:00 PM - 9:45 PM
Course Title
Liberalism in Weimar Germany

Description of Course:

Confronted with the traumatic losses of World War I, revolution, and a looming financial crisis, Germany was at a socio-political crossroads in 1918, which demanded change. In the midst of those final days of war, as German politicians tried to keep the country from exploding into chaos, a fledgling democracy emerged in Weimar that held the promise of a liberal transformation of German society. But as the country fought to find its way back to a place within the international community, it faced many obstacles, among them, the disgrace of defeat, harsh penalties under the peace treaties, the transition to a new form of government, exorbitant inflation, workers strikes, domestic terrorism, and the Depression. Considering the difficulties and tensions confronting Germany during the years of the Weimar Republic, this course will examine the ways in which the idea of liberalism emerged in that country during the post-Enlightenment era, along with the concept of the modern nation state. Moreover, we will analyze the rise, development, and evolution of this concept not only in Weimar, but also in other democratic countries of the time, and the reasons for its ultimate demise in Germany. In addition, Liberalism in Weimar will explore the dramatic cultural changes taking place in Germany during the interwar period, considering the interplay among art, culture, politics, and propaganda in this new post-war environment and explain the tensions characterizing this period and the country’s eventual descent into Nazism.

Required Texts:

Eric D. Weitz, Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy.
John Willett, Art & Politics in the Weimar Period: The New Sobriety 1917-1933.

Required reading assignments may also include selections which can be found on electronic reserve in the UT Dallas library.

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Course requirements include regular attendance and participation, one directed analysis paper, one research paper, and two tests.

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