Welcome back to the fifth installment in my series on board games about the Cold War! Today, our game will be 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis (Asger Harding Granerud/Daniel Skjold Pedersen, Jolly Roger Games). As usual, we’ll look at it in both game and academic terms. Continue reading
Welcome, readers! You have just come upon my first post in the new series A Century of German History. This year, I will post ten articles, one for each decade of the 20th century. The century was the most dramatic in our history. And it was possibly nowhere more so than in Germany, a country that found itself sometimes on the wrong side of history, sometimes on the right, and sometimes even on both at the same time. The series does therefore not only attempt to show you some German history, but also shed light on the wider processes of those times in which Germany was both a subject and an object. Each article will feature one focal event (all of them in the year ending in a 9) and use one – and only one! – board game to illustrate it. Today, we begin with the superpower bickering over Berlin during the Berlin Crisis (after looking at West Berlin’s special situation). The board game to come with that, however, focuses on Cuba: 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis (Asger Harding Granerud/Daniel Skjold Pedersen, Jolly Roger Games). Why did I choose this game then? Read and find out. Continue reading
As some of you know, I’ve been enrolled in university to complete my M.A. program in history for the last few years. It’s been the end of a long journey through academic history which began in 2010 with me as a bright-eyed freshman in my undergrad history classes. During these eight years, I have not only taken classes on everything from late classical Greece to the history of spaceflight. I’ve also interned, gone abroad for studying, worked for election campaigns, and finally taken up a regular day job before I’ve graduated. All of this has taken time, and that’s the reason why I spent a longer time enrolled in university than most. I even took longer for my M.A. than for my B.A. And all of this has given me valuable experience, made me more employable, and helped me grow as a person. I cordially recommend all of you out there who have the chance to look outside your college campus to seize this chance. The more you know outside of a classroom, the better for you, and for the world.
I know that not everybody has these opportunities. I was incredibly privileged. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed good health, and I had a generous student grant from a prestigious foundation to cover my living expenses. I was enrolled in programs that allowed for student engagement with the world off-campus, and I had advisers and supervisors who were flexible and encouraging about projects which might give experience but might also delay graduation. Most importantly, I come from a country where university does not cost more than a symbolic fee, and where students from low-income households even receive assistance in the form of half a grant, half an interest-free loan (of which no more than € 10,000 must be repaid). Without all these privileges, a young person like me – brought up in a single-parent, low-income household without any relatives who’d ever graduated from college when I enrolled – would have never been able to succeed like I did. I am grateful for that. I also regard it as a responsibility. I have been able to fulfil my potential because others and the society in which I live allowed me to. I will personally strive to enable others to fulfil their potential, and work for a society which allows as many people as possible to fulfil theirs.
This post, however, is not about my personal journey. As you know, this blog deals with history, board games, and history in board games. As it so happens, so did my M.A. thesis. I dealt with both my academic and my personal passion – the Cold War in board games. Let me share some insights of the thesis with you. If you’re interested in the why and how and what of the thesis, check out the research interest of the thesis, its methodology, and the sample of board games I used for it. You can also skip directly to my key findings on history-themed board games in general and the Cold War in board games in particular. Continue reading
If there is one city to tell the history of the 20th century, it is Berlin. In 1900, it was the heart of imperial Germany, then turned itself into the seat of power of the new German republic after World War I (and the place-to-be for the avantgarde of the Roaring 1920s). The Nazis hated the tolerant, left-leaning Berlin and planned to rebuild it into the “World Capital Germania” once they had won the war. Those megalomaniac visions were shattered by the Soviet Army conquering Berlin in the single largest land battle in history at the end of World War II. During the Cold War, the divided Berlin was the focal point of confrontation between East and West. Finally, Berlin was re-united again in 1989/90. This article will tell the story of how the city became divided 70 years ago, why that was the better option (at least for one half of the city), and what that meant for the future of the city and the Cold War. As always, we’ll have a look at how board games represent our historical topic throughout the article, but there’s also a special section exclusively dealing with them.