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How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain

Lecture | December 7 | 12-1 p.m. | 201 Moses Hall


Edith Scheffer, Senior Fellow at IES and Assistant Professor at Stanford University

Institute of European Studies, Center for German and European Studies


The building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 shocked the world. Ever since, the image of this impenetrable barrier between East and West, imposed by communism, has been a central symbol of the Cold War. This talk reveals the hidden origins of the Iron Curtain, showing how the physical border between East and West Germany was not simply imposed by Cold War superpowers, but was an improvised outgrowth of an anxious postwar society.
Edith Sheffer is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of European Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and an Assistant Professor at Stanford University. She is the author of the prize-winning Burned Bridge: How East and West Germans Made the Iron Curtain (OUP 2011) and the forthcoming Asperger's Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna (W. W. Norton, 2018).


heike@berkeley.edu, 510-643-4558