German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2050
Fax: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2055 / 7404 5573


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Special Events

Exhibition – "If only you could be here..." – Love Letters Across the Berlin Wall

5 November to 5 December 2019

Venue: German Historical Institute London

The Berlin Wall divided East and West Germany for nearly 30 years until its fall in 1989. East and West Germans had only limited opportunities to visit each other, even less for East and West Berliners. Families, Friends and lovers were divided and many people tried to flee.

"If you could only be here..." is an exhibition telling three special love stories, between East and West Germans, that took place in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. Three couples fell in love during the German division. Their stories, of love that defied a time of isolation and separation, were kept alive through letters. Here, in this exhibition you will have the opportunity to see Germany's Cold War history from a new and unexpected perspective. This is the story about devotion without borders, without walls, told in the words of the lovers themselves.

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Gerda Henkel Visiting Professorship Lecture
Ulrich Herbert: The Short and the Long Twentieth Century: German and European Perspectives

10 December (6:30pm)

The Visiting Professorship is a joint project of the GHIL and the International History Department of the LSE and is funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation.

Venue: German Historical Institute London

If the 20th century is said to start in 1917 and end in 1990, then the conflict between capitalism and communism is declared to be the sign of the era. World War II, National Socialism and the Holocaust, as well as colonialism and decolonisation, are all defined by this contradiction and become secondary events. If the starting point is set around 1890 with the implementation of high industrialization, high imperialism and the culture of modernity, then the First World War and with it the emergence of the great ideological mass movements become the result of these decades of upheaval. The period up to the 1970s, when classical industrial society came to an end, is then understood as a unity.

Does all this apply to Germany, does it characterize a structuring of European history in the 20th century as a whole or do national historical differences predominate here?


Previous Special Events 2019