Berlin: Its History and Art

A European center of cultural dynamism and political power, Berlin is much more than the commonly held image of Third Reich bombast and Cold War tensions. Established on the banks of the Spree River, Berlin has seen architectural splendor, theater, and art, along with philosophical, literary, and scientific dynamism - all evolving side-by-side with the erratic legacy of the ambitious Hohenzollern royal dynasty, the cataclysmic Nazi Third Reich, and the wintery years of East and West Cold War divisions. Berlin is a city that enthralls the observer today with its cultural contributions while simultaneously producing a sense of bafflement at the raw ambitions and ideals of the city's driven political leaders during the last 300 years.

Topics include:

  • Berlin and the rise of Prussia: A center of Hohenzollern dynastic power and glory
  • The years of Napoleon and the aftermath: Invasion, preservation, and cultural growth
  • Bismarck and the unification of Germany: A Hohenzollern triumph
  • Berlin and the disaster of World War I
  • The Weimar Republic: Cultural splendor and political catastrophe
  • The Nazis come to Berlin: A city at the heart of the Third Reich
  • Cold War divisions and the final reunification: Berlin rises from the ashes

"Berlin ist mehr ein Weltteil als eine Stadt" ("Berlin is rather a part of the world than a city")

-Jean Paul, writer, 1800

Tentative Course Itinerary



Access online classroom: LEO; take virtual walk-through of course

Day 1 (Saturday)

1500First class meeting
1600Information Center - The rebuilding of the Berlin Palace

Day 2 (Sunday)

0900-1200Lecture on early Berlin and Prussia
1100-1300Walking tour in Berlin's historical center
1500-1800Walking Tour (continued) and the Old Opera House
1900-2000Evening lecture on Frederick the Great and Berlin

Day 3 (Monday)

0900-1200Charlottenburg Palace
1330-1630Lecture: Berlin in the first half of the 1800s
1630-1800Berlin Cathedral
1900-2000Berlin in 1848

Day 4 (Tuesday)

0900-1200Bismarck and the Second Reich
1500-1700Old National Gallery
1700-1930Dinner; Catch up on reading, etc.
2000-2100Art and architecture of the Second Reich

Day 5 (Wednesday)

0900-1200World War I and the Weimar Republic in Berlin
1330-1700Kufurstendamm and the Kollwitz Museum
1700-1930, 1930-2100Return to hotel and dinner lecture: The rise of the Nazis

Day 6 (Thursday)

0900-1300Walk down Friedrichstrasse to the Jewish Museum
1430-1730National Socialism and the plight of the Jews
1900-2100Lecture: War and destruction in Berlin

Day 7 (Friday)

9:00-10:30Lecture: Berlin and the Cold War
1030-1300Tour of Checkpoint Charlie and the Museum of the Wall
1430-1700The New National Gallery
1700-1900Dinner and return to the hotel
1900-2100Lecture: Berlin today

Day 8 (Saturday)

0900-1100Final exam; Check out by noon

Accommodation and Transportation

For your convenience, UMUC coordinates the hotel and excursion arrangements for a flat fee of $650 per student per field study course. This fee will be charged to your student account and covers seven nights of lodging (double occupancy room), as well as local transportation costs and entry to all excursions. Single rooms are available upon request, if space allows, for an additional fee of $200.

The $650 fee does not include travel to and from the city where the course is held. Students must make their own travel arrangements to the course.

Textbooks and Course Materials

Textbooks can be ordered through webText Europe - a secure, online textbook service designed to make your textbook ordering quick and simple. You can also receive on-site assistance from your local program coordinator. For a detailed listing of required textbooks and early reading assignments, please see the current course syllabus found in the schedule.

Registration Details

You may register for the 3 credit field study course with your local program coordinator or online at MyUMUC. Tuition assistance or financial aid can be applied toward tuition costs. For more information, contact the UMUC Field Study Office at CIV +49-(0)631-534-800, or e-mail

Before completing your travel plans, please verify with your local program coordinator or the Field Study Office at UMUC Europe Headquarters that the course will be held as scheduled. If you drop/withdraw from a field study course after the registration deadline, you will be charged a fee of $100.