Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 15 x 1 hour lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 5 x 2 hour seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500-word essay  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Examination  60%
Supplementary Assessment

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. discuss the reasons for Germany's division and analyse the strategies adopted by German statesmen to overcome it
2. analyse and discuss political, ideological, economic, social and cultural influences on foreign policy-making
3. analyse why the two German states during the Cold War period became so deeply involved in international treaty associations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Warsaw Pact, the European Economic Community, Comecon and the United Nations
4. examine the effects of these organizations on the two states and their international independence
5. compare and contrast the GDR's relationship with the Soviet Union with the Federal Republic's relationship with the United States, setting this against the Cold War background of the contest between Communism and democracy
6. compare and contrast West Germans' nationalism, loyalty towards their state and conception of its role in the world with those of East Germans
7. assess the success of the two German states, policies towards one another, their principal superpower backers, the main treaty organizations in which they participated, and the Third World
8. analyse why the division of Germany ended and state reunification took the form it did
9. assess the similarities and differences between German foreign policy since 1990 and the policies pursued during the Cold War era
10. compare the policies of the Cold War era with previous traditions in German foreign policy
11. demonstrate, through written work and seminar presentations and discussion, the understanding of the above topics which they have achieved

Brief description

The module aims to show how the main aspects of the foreign policies of the Federal Republic and the German Democratic Republic were formed in the period 1949-1990. The course will above all focus on the two states' relations with one another and with their main partner states and organizations. It will examine how much success their policies achieved and how they evolved in response to changing circumstances. Lastly, Germany's foreign policy since the GDR's collapse and state reunification in 1990 will be studied.


- the reasons for Germany's division and the strategies of German politicians to overcome it
- the involvement of both German states in political combinations, economic associations and defence pacts chiefly the European Economic Community, Comecon, NATO and the Warsaw Pact); the reasons for, and the effects of, these arrangements
- the character of relations between each German state and its superpower ally: for the Federal Republic, the United States; for the GDR, the Soviet Union
- the special relationship between the Federal Republic and France
- the policies of the two German states in the Third World
- nationalism in the Federal Republic and state loyalty in the GDR; the memory of the World Wars and the Holocaust
- ideological, economic, social and cultural influences on foreign policy
- the reasons for the GDR's collapse in 1989-1990; why German reunification took the form it did
- the foreign policy of reunited Germany since 1990; continuity and change in German foreign policy


1. The German foreign policy tradition: from Bismarck to the First World War
2. The German foreign policy tradition: from the Versailles Treaty to 'Stunde Null' (Zero Hour)
3. Adenauer's Westpolitik
4. The Federal Republic and the German Question: the Adenauer era
5. The Federal Republic and the German Question: from Brandt to Kohl
6. The GDR and the German Question, 1949-1990
7. Domestic influences on foreign policy in the Federal Republic of Germany
8. The Federal Republic and France: a very special relationship
9. The Federal Republic's relations with the United States
10. The Federal Republic, the European Economic Community and other international organizations
11. The GDR, the Soviet Union and the Bloc
12. The two German states and the wider world: Israel, the Arab states, and the Third World
13. German foreign policy since reunification: Germany and its Neighbours
14. German foreign policy since reunification: Germany and the Use of Force
15. Overview

Seminars (each of two hours)

1. German foreign policy from Bismarck to Adenauer
2. The two German states and the German Question
3. The German states and their allies: the Federal Republic and the United States (NATO); the Federal Republic and France; the GDR and the Soviet Union (Warsaw Pact)
4. The EEC, Comecon and the two German states; domestic factors in German foreign policy
5. German foreign policy since reunification


This module enables interested students to gain specialist knowledge of the foreign relations of the two German states during the extraordinary period of Germany's division. The module also acts as a useful bridge between the teaching of European politics and that of international history.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to assert themselves to advantage. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to be clear and direct in their and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching and the emphasis throughout the module will be on student participation and communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the convenor and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their essay and presentation topics. The need to conduct a seminar presentation and to meet an essay deadline will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science and OCLC).
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay and a presentation, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the submission of an essay will require that the student develops independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare seminar presentations will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills The submission of an essay will reflect the independent research skills of the student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for a seminar presentation will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: - Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module - Ability to evaluate competing perspectives - Demonstrate subject specific research techniques - Apply a range of methodologies to complex political problems
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module.


This module is at CQFW Level 6