Independent Study - Cold War

Instructor: Gerard Kruger     [email protected]

  This independent study course compares life during the Cold War in the Federal Republic of Germany ( West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). It focuses on the differing political, economic and social systems in the two German states, the circumstances that had led to these differences as well as the conditions that resulted in Germany's reunification.

Procedures: Participation in the German Exchange Program is required for all students taking this independent study course. The trip to Germany is an integral part of the learning process. More details on the German Exchange can be found by clicking on "Student Activities," and then "German Exchange Students" to get to the appropriate page on the school website. 

  During your stay in Germany, we will meet with people who will tell you about their experiences living in East and/or West Germany during the Cold War. You will visit historical sites along the inner German border, visit a former prison of the East German secret police, the Stasi, and go to the Berlin Wall Memorial and several museums, including one dedicated to the attempts by East Germans to escape to the West. 

Grading: Your grade will be based on the completion of several EdPuzzle videos (25%) designed to give you the background historical information you will need to better understand your experiences in Germany. The videos should be completed before the trip to Germany.  The link to the EdPuzzle videos is: 

  The largest part of the grade (75%) will be a 5-7 page research paper on a topic of your choosing. The topic should be preapproved by the instructor. The paper should be based primarily on information from the eyewitnesses to history you meet and from information you gather during visits to museums and historical sites while in Germany. The paper should be submitted in September by a date specified by the instructor.

  Some possible paper topics are:

"The Iron Curtain" as seen from East and West Germany

A Comparison of Cold War Life in East and West Germany

The "Wall" and Its Victims: How and Why Did People Try to Escape from the German Democratic Republic

How did the "Peaceful Revolution" and German Reunification Occur?

What was Life Like for Dissidents in the GDR?

Germany's Economic Miracle: Why in the West and not in the East?

Berlin: Capital of Cold War Espionage?