Module Information

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

Course Delivery

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


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500-word essay  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Examination  60%
Supplementary Assessment Resit opportunities for this module will be available in the supplementary examination period each year. Depending on whether the student is resitting for Honours or Pass only, the resit requirements may be an essay plus examination, just the essay, or just the examination. The Department always writes to all students well before the supplementary examination period to confirm the requirements. 

Learning Outcomes

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

1. analyse, understand, discuss and explain the nature of German Communism, how it differed from Social Democracy, why a German Communist movement formed and what its relations were with other Communist movements;
2. analyse, understand, discuss and explain what political course the German Communist Party adopted in the period between the two World Wars and what results this had;
3. analyse, understand, discuss and explain why and how a German Communist state was formed after the Second World War;
4. analyse, understand, discuss and explain how this state functioned, how much it transformed East German society and how much that society changed during its lifetime;
5. analyse, understand, discuss and explain why the Communist regime collapsed in East Germany;
6. analyse, understand, discuss and explain what the legacy of German Communism has been to East Germany and Germany as a whole;
7. demonstrate, through written work and seminar presentations and discussion, the understanding of the above topics which they have achieved.


This module adds to the Department'r provision of teaching in the field of international history. It complements existing provision in this field and enables interested students to gain specialist knowledge of the history of German Communism, of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), and of the history of Germany during the Cold War. The module also strengthens the Department'r teaching provision in the field of political ideas and Communist and post-Communist politics.

Brief description

The module aims above all to examine the nature of German Communism and to show why and how it came into being, what it achieved, and what legacy it left behind, now that it is largely gone. It examines how the Communist German state, the GDR, functioned and why it failed. It also considers whether the GDR can be described in any way as a success. The course will investigate why a Communist German state came into being after the Second World War. It will examine the political, economic and social and cultural history of the GDR, as well as shedding some light on its foreign policy.


- Why and how a German Communist movement and party formed early in the twentieth century; how it differed from Social Democracy
- What the nature of German Communism was
- How the German Communist movement fared under first the Weimar Republic and then the Nazis? Third Reich
- Why and how a Communist German state came into being after the Second World War
- What form of political system was created in the GDR and how it functioned
- How the economy of East Germany was communized and how and how well the Communist economy functioned; how the GDR collaborated in economic matters with the other states of the Soviet Bloc
- How the society and culture of East Germany developed under Communist rule
- How the GDR'r foreign policy was conducted
- How significant a role the state security service, or Stasi, played in the GDR'r domestic life and in its international relations
- Why the GDR collapsed
- What its legacy has been to the united German state

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both orally 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 BIDS 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: 1. Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module 2. Ability to evaluate competing perspectives 3. Demonstrate subject specific research techniques 4. 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