MO3318 1848 - Revolutionary Age
Lecturer Dr Claudia Kreklau  (St Katharine’s Lodge, room 2.26)
Credits 30
Availability Semester 1, 2019-20
Class Hour view timetable
Description Contemporaries called it the 'Crazy Year'. After decades of governmental oppression, the revolutions of 1848 threw Germany into an intoxicating period of liberty and change. German society underwent a process of political mobilisation. Peasants, craftsmen, workers, liberals, radicals, nationalists, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, even women and proto-imperialists set about addressing their grievances. In order to establish new rights and institutions they utilised a wide spectrum of political means, ranging from riots to elected constituent assemblies. Their objectives were similarly heterogeneous. Peasants near Magdeburg demanded more pasture for their geese; the deputies of the Frankfurt Parliament tried to create a constitutional nation state. This module will try to draw an analytical portrait of the origins, events and consequences of seventeen dazzling, dramatic, momentous months in German history.
Basic Reading D. Blackburn, Fontana History of Germany 1780-1918: The Long Nineteenth Century (1997)
H.J. Hahn, The 1848 Revolutions in German-Speaking Europe (2001)
W. Siemann, The German Revolutions of 1848-49 (1998)
J. Sperber, The European Revolutions, 1848-1851 (1984, 1995)

Course Structure

  1. Course Introduction: The German Confederation, 1815-1847
  2. Opposition and Social Crisis: the Vormärz
  3. Spring 1848: the Revolutions in the German States
  4. The `Elementary' Revolution: Peasants, Craftsmen and Workers
  5. A Communication Revolution: the Creation of a Revolutionary Public Sphere
  6. The Path to the Frankfurt Parliament
  7. Nationalism and International Politics
  8. The Turning of the Tide: Autumn 1848
  9. Creating the Reich: the Frankfurt Constitution
  10. A Final Attempt: the Campaign for the Imperial Constitution
  11. Whose Failure? - The Impact of 1848/9


NB – This module will be assessed through 100% continuous assessment; there will be no final exam. The five separate items of assessment will be weighted as follows:

  • A 1000-word book review (due wk 4) – 10% of module grade
  • 1-hour class test in wk 5 (answer one essay question from a choice of three) – 20%
  • Participation in one  teamwork presentation exercise ( in wks 6, 7, 8) – 25%
  • A 3,5000-word essay (due Monday of wk 12 [3 Dec.]) – 25%
  • A take-home gobbet exercise: “Comment on four of the following eight source extracts” (released during the exam diet; due on the last day of the exam diet) – 20%

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop an understanding of the origins, forms objectives and consequences Outcome of the multi-dimensional process of revolutionary change in Germany, 1848-1849
  • Gain experience in the critical evaluation of selected primary sources
  • Practise preparing and delivering oral presentations
Restrictions None
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