In this course we will focus on life in postwar Germany, the trying, despairing, crisis laden years of the Allied occupation between 1945 and 1948, including the starvation winters, the black market economy, the refugee dilemma, the denazification processes and the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal.
Moving on we will discuss life in the Soviet satellite known as the German Democratic Republic and how its secret police apparatus, the Stasi, turned its citizens into a nation of informants. How occupied Germany evolved into the epicenter of the emerging Cold War as relations between East and West Germany--and the superpowers supporting them-- became increasingly strained.
We will learn how the West German state came into being via the Berlin Airlift, currency reform and the Marshall Plan which would set it on course to realize theWirtschaftwunder (economic miracle) that made West Germany a preeminent economic power again and the “Made in Germany” brand globally respected the world over. All events which would compel more than 2.5 million East Germans to flee to the West between 1949 and 1961,causing the infamous Berliner Mauer (Wall) to be constructed.
We will conclude in1963 with president John F. Kennedy speaking in West Berlin--in the very sight of the “Wall”—not only pledging to defend West Berliners but emphasizing his support for West Germany as well as the rest of free world beyond the “Wall” against Communist aggression.
Join us for a journey that promises to expand and enhance your knowledge of this intriguing period of German history.
Course Moderator Mike Haas
German American Cultural Center
4740 North Western Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625
DANK Haus German American Cultural Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
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