Study Excursions

Germany and France: From Wars to Reconciliation and Beyond.

A Study Trip to Berlin and Paris

Dr. Gisela Dachs

Throughout their long history, the relations between French and Germans have been mostly marked by embittered wars and enmity. It was only after 1945 that a process of reconciliation started to take place. The founding fathers of this process shaped not only what would then develop into a strong alliance at the heart of Western Europe, but also the core of the future European Union. Albeit not without difficulties, the Franco-German friendship has become to symbolize a successful way to overcome history through peaceful bilateral cooperation. Such transnational interactions include a wide range of activities including state-financed youth exchanges, municipal partnerships, and a host of bi-national institutes and associations. Rather than directly affecting domestic political affairs, this kind of Europeanization connects French and Germans in various ways, transforming their partnership into the driving force of the European integration. 

The study excursion will explore the historical traces as reminders of the former enmity between France and Germany as well as current transnational practices of cooperation. It provides the participants with a wide range of encounters and experiences showing how, on the one side, collective memory as well as political, cultural and linguistic differences can be continuous challenges to the bilateral relations, but also how processes of reconciliation were able to shape a lasting alliance, on the other side. 

For preparation, the basic course “The Media in Germany” (Fall Semester) is recommended. Parallel to the study excursion students are required to attend the course “The Core of Europe :History and Challenges of the Franco-German Friendship (Spring semester).