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8th Annual Lecture on Contemporary German History

31 March 2011
at the German Ambassador’s Residence, in co-operation with the German Historical Institute London.

'The German Foreign Office and Nazism: Image and Reality after 1945' was the title of this year’s 8th Annual Lecture on Contemporary German History, given by Professor Peter Hayes of Northwestern University, Illinois, on 31 March.

Professor Hayes was a member of the Independent Historians’ Commission appointed by the Auswärtiges Amt (Federal Foreign Office of Germany) to investigate its own history. The result was a comprehensive study entitled 'The Foreign Office and the Past: German Diplomacy during the Third Reich and the Federal Republic' which became a German bestseller after its publication in 2010.

As Professor Hayes pointed out, German history did not end in May 1945. He lucidly depicted the careers of diplomats before and after 1945 and discussed their ambivalent role in the Third Reich and subsequently in setting up a new diplomatic service in the Federal Republic. Although there had already been research in this field, Professor Hayes stressed the importance of making these facts known to a wider public.

The lecture was followed by comments from Professor Neil Gregor, from the University of Southampton, who then chaired a Q&A session providing over 130 guests the opportunity to ask further questions. Discussions then continued at the reception afterwards.

MP3 download (74 min, 67.7 MB)

German Ambassador Georg Boomgaarden, Prof Andreas Gestrich (GHIL), Prof Peter Hayes (Northwestern University, Illinois)<br />(© German Embassy London)