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The Fischer Controversy 50 Years On

13-15 October 2011

International Conference
Venue: German Historical Institute London

In 2011 it will be 50 years since Fritz Fischer’s seminal work Griff nach der Weltmacht (Bid for World Power) was published. His theses had a monumental effect on German and international historiography as well as on Germany’s understanding of its more recent past.

The aim of this international conference is to examine both the significance of the so-called Fischer controversy, one of the most acrimonious historiographical debates of the 20th century, and the significance of Fischer’s work for our understanding of the origins of the war. Using his theses as a starting point, but expanding beyond his focus on Germany and Austria-Hungary, the conference papers will re-examine Fischer’s theses comparatively, and based on the latest research. Speakers from the US, Canada, Germany, Austria and Britain have agreed to deal with controversial issues such as the origins of the war, the war aims of the Central and Entente powers and their crucial political decisions. The conference will also address aspects of the historiographical controversy by highlighting the reception of his work in Germany as well as other European countries.

The organisers are grateful for the generous funding and support received by the German Historical Institute, London. In addition, the conference has been generously funded by The Journal of Contemporary History, the German History Society, the Open University, and the Toepfer Stiftung.

Conference programme (PDF file)

Listen to: Round Table Discussion: The Insiders’ views of the Fischer Controversy (13 October 2011, MP3 download, 90 min, 41.6 MB)

Conference report (PDF file), published in: GHIL Bulletin 34 (2012), Vol 1

Related publication:
Bid for World Power? New Research on the Outbreak of the First World War
Ed. Andreas Gestrich and Hartmut Pogge von Strandmann
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. - 476 p.
ISBN: 978-0-19-879241-3
read more about this title (this link will take you to the Oxford University Press website)