Due: Sun., Dec. 2, 10:00 a.m.
Due to the delay in this assignment on my part, I will grant extensions of up to one week, provided I receive such requests by Wed., Nov. 28.
Respond to one of the source analysis prompts below, following the same length and format instructions used for the first source analysis assignment.
Optional differences to previous paper: (1) I will accept as many as 1,200 words, if your topic requires it. (2) You may also submit annotated copies of the sources you analyze as an appendix to the paper itself. If you do so, attach as a single PDF or Word file, separate from your actual paper.
1. “Unworthy” Life and Eugenics
In the Weimar documents on education and research, read and analyze the following sources, which were produced by experts before the Nazis came to power. What do they reveal or suggest to you?
- Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche, “Permitting the Destruction of Life Unworthy of Living” (1920)
- Friedrich von Bodelschwingh, Lecture in Lübeck on Questions Relating to Eugenics (1929)
- Hans Harmsen, “Contemporary Questions of Eugenics” (1931)
- Lex Zwickau (1924) and Responses to It (January 1932)
2. Propaganda and the Public
In World War I, German government officials censored the press from the beginning (Guidelines I, Guidelines II, Practice). By 1917, the army itself also decided on the need for so-called Patriotic Enlightenment. How did the Nazi propaganda minister Goebbels understand the role of propaganda? What limits did Nazi propaganda efforts encounter?
To answer this question, read and analyze the sources in Documents – Propaganda and the Public. Also, take a look at the related images. You may limit your analysis to the Nazi era, or you may compare Nazi approaches to those in World War I. Your choice.
Hint: You will not need all of the documents for your paper, but you must read and think about them in order to understand the broad situation and make informed analytical choices.
3. Art, Artists, and the Nazi State
Read all the documents in Literature, Art, and Music, and study all the corresponding images. What story do they tell? Put differently, why and how did the Nazi state assert a monopoly on the production of “German” art? What constituted desirable art? How did the Nazi regime work against undesirable art and artists? Where did this leave artists themselves, whether they supported or opposed the regime?
Hints: You might not need all of the listed documents for your paper, but you must read and think about all of them them in order to understand the general situation and make informed analytical choices.
4. German Expellees
Germany after World War II experienced a major influx of ethnic Germans after countries to its east expelled their German-speaking populations. Read all twelve documents in German Expellees and their New Neighbors and discuss what they tell you about this mass forced migration, including the experiences, attitudes, and responses of ordinary people. Integrate your impressions of the corresponding images, to the extent you find that useful.
6. Women and work in the GDR
Under Communism, women and men were supposed to be equal in every way. At the same time, recovering from World War II required as many workers as possible, including women. Thus, East Germany (GDR) sought to leave behind powerful norms of domestic femininity, of women belonging in the home. This state and party effort contrasted to policy in West Germany and dominant notions there of family-centered, domestic femininity. But what did women’s equality in East Germany look like during the 1950s and 1960s?
Read all of Documents – Men, Women and Labor: East Germany and examine the corresponding images. On that basis, write up your analysis, following the guidelines from the previous paper (see optional differences below).
Hint: You will not need all of the documents for your paper, but you must read and think about them in order to understand the broad situation and to make informed analytical choices.
7. America and German Youth in East and West German Eyes
After two German states were established in 1949, shared social and cultural phenomena were viewed through contrasting ideological lenses, liberal-capitalist and authoritarian-communist. Analyze the differing views about German youth culture in “America” in East and West German Eyes. Read all the documents, but choose a smaller selection of material from and about East and West for your paper. You might gain additional insights from the images about youth and education in East Germany and West Germany.
8. From confrontation to engagement: West German foreign policy
Beginning in 1969 under the leadership of the Social Democratic chancellor Willi Brandt, the FRG steered a course from outright confrontation with the GDR to one of engagement. On the face of it, the policy amounted to a gradual recognition of the GDR and a stabilization of the East-West divide, but it also intensified German-German contact and economic ties in a way that eventually made unification possible under the leadership of the Christian Democratic chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1990. By now, old disagreements about Brandt’s Ostpoltik were irrelevant.
With this history in mind, analyze Brand’t foreign policy ideas and efforts as they appear in The New Ostpolitik and German-German Relations. He did not know what we do about 1989/90, of course, and you should not comment on that either. Instead try to understand the foreign policy on its own terms, in its own specific context.
Hint: Don’t just read Brandt. Consider the words of one of his advisers, Egon Bahr, as well as many of the other documents.
Language note: References in the texts to “the GDR” amount to references to the East German state, the official regime. References to “the Zone,” by contrast, comprehend the GDR as nothing more than the Soviet Zone of occupation. With time, this later usage seems to have grown less ubiquitous.