Friday, November 2, 2007

Germany (Berkeley History 167B)

We are still not at the end of the lecture series about Germany's Second Reich, that Germany of the 19th century, but it is already a good moment to write acclaim and recommend this podcast series warmly to our readers. Berkeley history Professor Margaret Anderson (to some also known as Peggy) delivers this lecture series, whereof the majority has come out as podcasts. Note that some have not and there are even some that are not fit to listen to due to bad sound. So, for the podcast history buff, it is a journey with a lot of holes in the road, yet the journey is very rewarding. As we have seen with the previous semester's History 5 course, where she delivered a very inspiring own version, in the series that is normally delivered by Professor Thomas Laqueur.

Picture this. At the beginning of the nineteenth century there was no Germany, only a multitude of lands, hardly unified, if at all, living in a style more resembling the Middle Ages than modernity. Even in the middle of the nineteenth century this was roughly so. The unification came about through war and was mostly forced upon the Germans. If I forget for a moment that this is the history of a country we know, my impression is that this forced unity is going to go down in civil war. It is amazing to find this country becomes the champion of education and of the second part of the industrial revolution.

Margaret Anderson does a great job portraying and explaining the developments and I trust that in the lectures to come, we will also get to understand how this elated country, could start two World Wars and engage in destruction and the killing of millions.