Tag Archives: West Germany

The Wall Must Go (Century of German History, #9)

I’m doing a series on German history in the 20th century on my blog this year. In intervals of 10 years, I pick a crucial event and explore it – with the help of precisely one board game. You can find the previous posts here:

Today, we go into very recent history: Only 30 years ago, the world was still divided into the power blocs led by the United States and the Soviet Union. The frontline of this confrontation known as the Cold War ran right through the heart of Europe – Germany, and even its major city, Berlin, divided by the Berlin Wall. We’ll look at what this wall meant, how influences from outside Berlin gave an impulse for change, how the Berlin Wall finally came down, and which way the divided country took afterward. The game to accompany all of this could be no other than 1989 (Ted Torgerson/Jason Matthews, GMT Games).

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Willy Brandt and Détente (Century of German History, #7)

I’m doing a series on German history in the 20th century on my blog this year. In intervals of 10 years, I pick a crucial event and explore it – with the help of precisely one board game. You can find the previous posts here:

Today, we go back to 1969, when Willy Brandt took office as chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the policy of détente across the Iron Curtain he implemented then. Here, the „German question“ of reunification merged with superpower détente into détente between West Germany and the Soviet Union as well as her allies in Eastern Europe. And when it comes to matters of détente and confrontation, our accompanying game can be no other than the famed Twilight Struggle (Ananda Gupta/Jason Matthews, GMT Games). If you are interested in Brandt’s life beyond détente, check out one of my very first blog posts on exactly that matter. Continue reading

Wir sind das Volk! (Games about the Cold War, #7)

Welcome back to the seventh installment in my series on board games about the Cold War! Today, our game will be Wir sind das Volk! (Richard Sivél/Peer Sylvester, Histogame). As usual, we’ll look at it in both game and academic terms. There are three aspects of Wir sind das Volk! which stand out to me: Its primacy of domestic politics, the decision-making aspect of the special cards, and the strong asymmetry of its two powers.

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A New Start – and Two New Germanies (Century of German History, #4)

Welcome to the fourth installment in my series Century of German History! Every post in the series sheds light on a focal event of German history in the 20th century and illustrates this event with precisely one board game. You can find the three previous posts here, here and here.
Today, we look at the foundation of two German states in 1949. After the end of World War II, Germany was in ruins – materially and ideologically. While the Allies attempted some cooperation initially, they soon found themselves at odds and the three Western occupation zones and the Soviet occupation zone developed differently. The board game through whose lens we’re looking at these crucial times is Wir sind das Volk! (Richard Sivél/Peer Sylvester, Histogame).

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A Magic May? (1968, #2)

1968 was a year of upheaval all over the globe. We’ve already seen what was going on in the Americas. This article is going to cover Western Europe. Most countries there have seen their own 1968 protests, but we’ll focus on two dramatic cases here: West Germany and France show the universal and the country-specific aspects of the upheavals well – and both of them are covered well in board games. Wir sind das Volk! (Richard Sivél/Peer Sylvester, Histogame) has all the German history of the Cold War and places a strong focus on social movements and unrest. Mai ’68 – Le jeu (François Nedelec/Duccio Vitale, La Folie Douce) deals specifically with the protests of May 1968 in Paris.

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Confrontation and Cooperation from the West (1989, #2)

The first article in this series dealt with the peoples of Eastern Europe as the agents of change in 1989. Not all explanations for the collapse of Communism center on them, though. Especially in Western Europe and North America, the role of Western governments in the end of the Cold War has been surveyed thoroughly. Paradoxically, there are two diametrically opposed explanations how Western governments might have enacted the end of Communist rule in Eastern Europe – by confrontation or by cooperation with the East. We’ll look at both in this article. Continue reading

Willy Brandt and Ostpolitik

25 years ago on this day, former West German chancellor Willy Brandt died. He had lived a remarkable life that spanned most of the 20th century – and his biography can almost be read as a history of the 20th century in the industrialized world. This article will shine some light on Brandt’s life in the age of extremes and then discuss his foreign policy from the perspective of board games.
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