Oct. 3, 2020 marked the 30-year anniversary of the re-unification of East and West Germany. At the beginning of the Cold War, two separate German states with their own cultures developed, starting in 1949— with different rules about where a person could travel, different ideas about the economy, different kinds of stores, different holidays, different views about religion, different ideas about the purpose of art, different versions of the German past, and starkly different views about what the other government’s intentions were. Throughout the 1980s, virtually no one predicted that popular demonstrations in September 1989 would spark a revolution in East Germany, that the East German government would open its borders (including the Berlin Wall), that there would be free elections, and that the two Germanies would merge under the economic and political system of West Germany in 1990.

The personal perspectives of Germans are very important in this history. CSI has several professors who came from West and East Germany and emigrated to the U.S. at different times. The CSI History Department is honored to host Hildegard Hoeller (a literary scholar and Prof. in the English Department), Ralf Peetz (a polymer chemist, Professor in the Chemistry Department, and now CSI’s Associate Provost of Undergraduate Studies and Student Success), Bertram Ploog (an autism researcher and Professor in the Psychology Department), and Beatrix Reinhardt (a photographer/artist and Professor in the Performing and Creative Arts Department). They will discuss where and how they were living in the 1980s, what they thought about the fall of the Berlin Wall, and what they thought about reunification at the time. Students, faculty, and staff are invited to ask questions.

Register in advance for this meeting.

The event will be co-moderated by Prof. Mark Lewis (German History) and Prof. Jacob Collins (French History).

By the Division of Academic Affairs