About this day
For 11,12 and 13 students
World-class historians will present a diverse range of exciting and relevant talks to enthuse, inform and entertain, focusing on the period 1914 – 1945. Topics will range from the First World War and the Weimar Republic through to the Holocaust, Nazi Germany and World War Two. An examination session will provide guidance and insights to help boost students’ confidence and examination grades. Dr Robin Bunce, of Homerton College, Cambridge, will chair the day and run a dynamic and useful examination session for students. Tom Haward from the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education, will deliver a short interactive CPD workshop for teachers during the lunchtime break.
Programme & speakers
The origins of the Holocaust Nikolaus Wachsmann, Birkbeck College London
Drawing on recent research, Prof. Wachsmann outlines the road to the Holocaust, from pre-war Nazi anti-Semitic measures aimed at brutal discrimination and forced emigration to wartime plans for destructive mass deportations, culminating in the Nazi policy to exterminate the Jews of Europe.
About Nikolaus Wachsmann
Professor Nikolaus Wachsmann teaches modern European history at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of “KL. A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps” (2015).
The Great Catastrophe: Germany in the First World War Alexander Watson, Goldsmiths, University of London
Germany faced a vicious struggle against a ‘world of enemies’ in 1914-18. The country’s population and material resources were mobilised on an unprecedented level to fight vastly superior opponents. Its leadership embraced expansionary war aims and extreme violence to win. For the German people, the conflict brought extraordinary hardships: invasion, ‘starvation blockade’, mass death and a deeply humiliating defeat. This lecture explores this traumatic ordeal, and explains how it shattered Germany’s society, radicalised politics, and paved the way for Nazi dictatorship, another world war and genocide.
About Alexander Watson
Alexander Watson is Professor of History at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has written many books and papers on East – Central Europe and Britain during the First World War. His latest book, Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary at War, 1914-1918, won the Wolfson History Prize and the Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History, and was the Sunday Times ‘History Book of the Year’ for 2014.
Interpretations of Hitler since 1945 Neil Gregor, University of Southampton
What role did Hitler play in the Nazi regime, and how have historians interpreted it since 1945? Why have biographical perspectives on Hitler changed over time, and what can this tell us about the changing legacies of the Nazi period? This lecture explores the different historians’ attempts to place Hitler in his historical context, and asks how changing interpretations reflect the post-war world’s evolving relationship to the dictatorship and its impact.
About Neil Gregor
Neil Gregor is Professor of Modern European History at Southampton University. His research interests range widely across 20th century German history, and have encompassed aspects of business, social and cultural history. He has published widely and is co-editor of German History, the journal of the German History Society.
‘Feel-Good Dictatorship’? Consent and coercion in Nazi Germany. Christopher Dillon, King's College London
In the last two decades historians have moved away from the traditional depiction of Nazi Germany as a terroristic and dangerous dictatorship. They argue that the Nazis had no need to terrorise the Germans because the majority welcomed their policies.
Unless you were a member of an unloved minority, the argument runs, there was little to fear and everything to feel good about. The talk will consider the merits and, especially, the weaknesses of this new interpretation of Nazi Germany.
About Christopher Dillon
Dr Christopher Dillon is Lecturer in Modern European History at King’s College London. His research and teaching interests focus on modern German history, particularly the Weimer and Nazi periods.
Democracy in crisis: the rise and fall of the Weimar Republic Clare Copley, University of Central Lancashire
In 1919 the Weimar Republic was founded with the signing of one of the most democratic constitutions of its time. Just 14 years later it would be overtaken by the brutal Nazi dictatorship. This talk will explore the political turbulence, economic instability and violence which characterise the Weimar Republic but will also highlight its experimental sub-cultures and progressive ideals. It will examine why the Weimar Republic was established, its strengths and weaknesses and the reasons for its ultimate collapse.
About Clare Copley
Dr Copley is Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Central Lancashire. Prior to this, she worked at the Universities of Sheffield, Bristol and Birkbeck College, University of London. Her teaching and research interests focus on the social and cultural history of modern Europe, particularly 20th century Germany. Clare was awarded the Dyos Prize for Urban History (2016) and the German History Society / Royal Historical Society Postgraduate Essay Prize (2015). She has given talks at the Humboldt University, Berlin and the Centre for Urban History, Leicester.