Module Identifier HY13620  
Module Title BRITAIN & THE GERMAN QUESTION 1900-1990  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Robert G Hughes  
Semester Semester 1  
Course delivery Lecture   18 Hours  
  Seminars / Tutorials   5 Hours  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours  60%
Semester Assessment 2 x 2,500 word essays40%

Brief description

No single country or society in modern Europe has inspired more fear and admiration in Britain than has Germany. After 1900 German power and policy was instrumental in shaping Britain's relationship with Europe in the diplomatic, economic, political and military spheres. This course will examine why Britain has, at various times since 1900, viewed Germany as either mortal enemy or essential ally and partner. In the wider sphere, this will illuminate wider patterns in British internal and external policy. The enmity that characterised much of the Twentieth Century was not pre-ordained. In the latter part of the Nineteenth Century there seemed many reasons to suppose that Anglo-German relations would blossom (rather than strain to breaking point as they did). However, whatever the issues that led to the First World War in 1914, Britain (in contrast to France) never seriously envisaged any viable European order without German participation. After 1919 a desire to accommodate Germany within a workable international system caused Britain to attempt diplomatic conciliation via mechanisms such as the Locarno Treaty. This yearning for an accommodation led, eventually, to the infamous (or, as some would have it, misunderstood) policy of 'Appeasement' in the 1930s. Following the destruction of German power in 1945 Britain, motivated by the Soviet threat, helped construct a democratic state in the west of Germany. This West German state was integrated into the western economic and security structures by a series of processes in which Britain played perhaps the single leading role. Paradoxically, it now seemed that Germany (albeit a divided one) had a new 'role' that Britain, in Acheson's memorable phrase, was notably lacking. Once Britain accepted this and moved towards membership of the EEC the prominence of Germany in British external policy was only accentuated. In 1989-90 the unexpected re-emergence of German reunification onto the agenda reawakened many of the fears latent in British views of Germany. That this was so, even at the highest levels of government, demonstrated the enduring influence that Germany exerted on the British psyche. In this vein this course, by focussing on attitudes and policy towards Germany since 1900, will facilitate understanding of how Britain managed its evolution from imperial world power to membership of the European Community by way of two world wars.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Noel Annan (1996) Changing Enemies: The Defeat and Regeneration of Germany Harper Collins
Christoph Bluth (1995) Britain, Germany and Western Nuclear Strategy OUP
Tom Bower (1997) Blind Eye to Murder: Britain, America and the Purging of Nazi Germany - A Pledge Betrayed Warner Books
F.L. Carsten (1984) Britain and the Weimar Republic Batford
Maurice Cowling (1975) The Impact of Hitler: British Politics and British Policy 1933-1940
Rainier Erwig (2000) Stereotypes in Contemporary Anglo-German Relations Macmillan
D. Husemann (1988) As Others See Us: Anglo-German Perceptions P Lang
Lorna S. Jaffe (1984) The Decision to Disarm Germany: British Policy towards Post-war German Disarmament, 1914-1919 Allen & Unwin
Paul M. Kennedy (1980) The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism, 1860-1914 Allen & Unwin
Klaus Larres & Elizabeth Meehan (eds.) (2000) Uneasy Allies: British-German Relations and European Integration Since 1945 OUP
Sabine Lee (2001) Victory in Europe: Britain and Germany since 1945 Longman
Robert K. Massie (1993) Dreadnought: Britain, Germany and the Coming of the Great War Pimlico

Roger Morgan Britain and Germany since 1945: Two Societies and Two Foreign Policies The 1988 Annual Lecture, German Historical Institute London.

Douglas Newton (1997) British Policy and the Weimar Republic, 1918-1919 OUP
R.A.C. Parker (1993) Chamberlain and Appeasement: British Policy and the Coming of the Second World War
P. Schaad (2000) Bullying Bonn: Anglo-German Diplomacy on European Integration Macmillan
Donald Cameron Watt (1965) Britain looks to Germany Oswald Wolff


This module is at CQFW Level 4