Spring 2013

American Occupation of Germany

Listed in: , as COLQ-338


Rhea I. Cabin (Section 01)
Eileen M. Crosby (Section 01)
Catherine A. Epstein (Section 01)


This course will explore the American occupation of western Germany between 1945 and 1949, as well as the continued American presence in Germany thereafter.  We will examine the occupation and post-occupation years through the lens of archival materials found in Special Collections at Frost Library—the John J. McCloy, Karl Loewenstein, and Willard Thorp papers.  Based on these papers, we will focus on American plans for the political, economic, legal, and educational transformation of Germany.  How did American planners envision eradicating Nazism in Germany?  What did they hope to accomplish?  How realistic were their plans?  Because McCloy was the U.S. High Commissioner in Germany from 1949-1952, we will also explore the American role in Germany after that country regained limited sovereignty in 1949.  Class meetings will include general discussion of occupation policy and broader issues of regime transition, as well as hands-on work in Special Collections.  Using materials found in Special Collections, students will write 20-25 page seminar papers on some aspect of American-German relations in the first postwar years.  While all papers will focus on Germany, students will be encouraged to draw parallels with other American occupations, including those of Japan and Iraq.  The course will be co-taught by a professor of history and an archivist.  This course is part of a new model of tutorials at Amherst designed to enable students to engage in substantive research, with faculty.  One class meeting per week (2 hours).

The course is open to juniors interested in developing a senior-thesis project. Limited to six juniors.  Spring semester.  Professor Epstein and Ms. Crosby.   


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2013