The final doctoral masterclass of this academic year will see Birkbeck’s Professor Jan Rüger discuss methodologies of micro history with reference to his new book Heligoland: Britain, Germany, and the Struggle for the North Sea on Wednesday 17 May at 6pm in room B29 of the main Malet Street Building.
Drawing on a wide range of archival material, Jan Rüger explores how Britain and Germany have collided and collaborated in this North Sea enclave. For much of the nineteenth century, this was Britain’s smallest colony, an inconvenient and notoriously discontented outpost at the edge of Europe. Situated at the fault line between imperial and national histories, the island became a metaphor for Anglo-German rivalry once Germany had acquired it in 1890. Turned into a naval stronghold under the Kaiser and again under Hitler, it was fought over in both world wars. Heavy bombardment by the Allies reduced it to ruins, until the Royal Navy re-took it in May 1945. Returned to West Germany in 1952, it became a showpiece of reconciliation, but one that continues to wear the scars of the twentieth century.
Those interested in attending should register their interest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org