German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2050
Fax: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2055 / 7404 5573


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Special Events 2014

11 December 2014 (5pm)

Panel Discussion: Max Weber’s work and its relation to historical writing

Venue: German Historical Institute London

Chair: Andreas Gestrich (German Historical Institute London)
Discussants: David d’Avray, Peter Ghosh and Joachim Radkau

Max Weber (* 21 April 1864, † 14 June 1920) is one of the most prestigious social theorists in recent history. Many of his academic works are modern classics. Even 100 years after his death, his books are still read, edited, translated and interpreted. In recent years a number of biographies have shed new light on Weber’s life and work.

In commemoration of Max Weber’s 150th anniversary, the German Historical Institute hosts a discussion with three Weber experts, British historians David d’Avray and Peter Ghosh and German historian Joachim Radkau, on Max Weber’s work and its relation to historical writing.

More information

4 December (6:30pm)

Gerda Henkel Visiting Professorship Lecture
KIRAN KLAUS PATEL: Welfare in the Warfare State: Nazi social policy on the international stage

The Visiting Professorship is a joint project of the GHIL and the International History Department of the LSE and is funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation.

London School of Economics
Clement House, Lecture Room 5.02
99 Aldwych, London WC2B 4JF

This lecture will investigate the international debates triggered by the social welfare measures the Third Reich introduced in the 1930s and 1940s. Job creation schemes, marriage loans, eugenic measures, and much more were part of Nazi propaganda abroad. What were the regime’s aims? And how did other societies respond?

Watch the video of this lecture (this link will take you to the Gerda Henkel Stiftung website)

18 September to 24 October 2014

Germans in Britain

A new exhibition by the Migration Museum Project

‘There’s more to Anglo-German relations than war and football’ (Joanna Lumley)

To mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the first world war, The Migration Museum Project has created a new exhibition that explores the rich and fascinating history of German migrants to Britain.

More information

27-28 September 2014

The Meaning of 1914: A Free Conference

St. Antony’s College, Oxford
The New York Review of Books Foundation

Venue: Nissan Lecture Theatre, St. Antony’s College, Oxford

A Conference to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the Great War; with Vernon Bogdanor, Christopher Clark, Elitza Dulguerova, Max Egremont, Christa Ehrmann-Hämmerle, Robert Evans, Robert Gerwarth, Simon Head, Michael Howard, Jörn Leonhard, Neil MacGregor, Margaret MacMillan, Avner Offer, Peter Pulzer, Iris Rachamimov, Adam Ridley, Eugene Rogan, Hew Strachan, and Marc Trachtenberg.

Co-sponsored by The Bill Graham Center for Contemporary International History, Toronto; Europeaum, Oxford; The German Historical Institute London; Maison Française d’Oxford; Mission Centenaire 14-18; Remarque Institiute, New York University; Zeit Siftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius.

For more details see the The New York Review of Books website.

25 September 2014, 9.15-13.00

Making Winners? Transforming Individuals through Education in Colonial and Postcolonial Contexts

GHIL Session at the Göttingen Historikertag

Venue: Historikertag, University of Göttingen

The session at the Historikertag explores ideas and methods relating to the transformation of individuals through education. It analyses conflicting conceptions of such transformative processes in colonial and postcolonial contexts through specific examples and will investigate various technologies of crafting subjectivity in a wide range of geographical locations, targeting children and adults, men and women. Participants come from the GHIL, the TRG and other British institutions.

Conference report (PDF file), published in: GHIL Bulletin 37 (2015), Vol 1

4 July 2014
83rd Anglo-American Conference of Historians “The Great War at Home”, 3- 4 July 2014

Venue: Senate House, University of London

3. Entertainment on the home front
Chair: Andreas Gestrich (German Historical Institute London)
Theatre at War: London and Berlin, Tobias Becker (FU Berlin)
Emotional Diplomacy. Musical Life in the Great War, Sven Oliver Müller (Max Planck Institute for Human Development Berlin)
Education or Entertainment?: The case of the Official War Film The Battle of the Somme (1916), Micheal Hammond (Southampton)

More information is available on the IHR website: The Great War at Home

18 June (6pm)

Roundtable Debate
1914: What Historians Don’t Know about the Causes of the First World War

In cooperation with University College London and the Arts and Humanities Research Council

Venue: German Historical Institute London, Seminar Room

The majority of lectures and conferences marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War will be examining why the conflict occurred, concentrating on particular sets of events leading to war or on different aspects of the war’s course, character and consequences. By contrast, the emphasis of this roundtable discussion – and claim to originality – will be on continuing areas of uncertainty in the historical account of the outbreak of war: it will show how key decisions are still ‘unexplained’, allowing a variety of interpretations. This roundtable of internationally-renowned scholars will ask what we still do not know about the causes of the First World War.

Chair: Mark Hewitson (UCL)
Speakers: Margaret MacMillan (Oxford)
Annika Mombauer (Open University)
Sönke Neitzel (LSE)
John Röhl (Sussex)

Download flyer (PDF file)
Listen to this debate (MP3 download, 131 min, 76.9 MB)

23 May 2014 (5pm)
Book Launch: “Visions of Community in Nazi Germany. Social Engineering  and Private Lives”, edited by Martina Steber and Bernhard Gotto, Oxford University Press 2014.

Venue: St Antony's College Oxford

Co-organized by St Antony's College Oxford, the German Historical Institute London and the Institut für Zeitgeschichte München-Berlin

Comments by Elizabeth Harvey (Nottingham) and Nick Stargardt (Oxford)

To what extent the Nazis managed to realize a Volksgemeinschaft (lit. ‘people’s community’), their central utopian vision of society, and how heavily German society was actually involved in this murderous project, has been heavily debated among historians in recent years. Was the proclamation of a Volksgemeinschaft only a propaganda tool with no significance for social reality or did it constitute a defining element of Nazi rule? How can the social dynamic which was instituted by the vision of a racially homogenous, meritocratic and socially ‘just’ Volksgemeinschaft be interpreted?

“Visions of Community in Nazi Germany. Social Engineering and Private Lives” addresses these questions, provides new answers and presents avenues for future research on the social history of Nazi Germany. Two leading British scholars of Nazi Germany, Elizabeth Harvey (Nottingham) and Nicholas Stargardt (Oxford), will comment on the book and discuss the value of its approach with the editors, Bernhard Gotto and Martina Steber (both Munich).


Professor Jane Caplan (St Antony’s College, Oxford) and Dr Angela Schattner (GHIL)

Visions of Community in Nazi Germay. Social Engineering and Private Lives – Presentation by the Editors

Dr Martina Steber (Institut für Zeitgeschichte München-Berlin)
Dr Bernhard Gotto (Institut für Zeitgeschichte München-Berlin)

Comments on the Book

Professor Elizabeth Harvey (The University of Nottingham)
Professor Nicholas Stargardt (Magdalen College, Oxford)

Panel Discussion with the Editors and Commentators

chaired by Professor Jane Caplan (St Antony’s College, Oxford)

Download flyer (PDF file)

10 April 2014 (5pm)
How to Provide Food for Thought and Make Translations Profitable - A panel debate on academic translations

Venue: German Historical Institute London

Organized by Geisteswissenschaften International and the German Historical Institute London

Making excellent academic work visible to the world by translating it into English or other languages presents publisher and editors with an opportunity and a challenge. To increase the opportunities and reduce the challenges, countries such as Germany have started offering grants for translations in the humanities and social sciences. The German Historical Institute London and Geisteswissenschaften International would like to invite publishers, editors and rights managers to a reception to show them these opportunities as an enjoyable conclusion to the London Book Fair 2014. The reception will start at 5:00 p.m. at the German Historical Institute, 17 Bloomsbury Square.

Participants are also invited to a panel discussion between publishers with different views on the topic of translation. The informal round of drinks following this programme will give us an opportunity to celebrate the end of the fair.

More information

22 January to 21 March 2014

Erich Retzlaff Volksfotograf

An exhibition by Dr. Christoph Webster van Tonder (Aberystwyth University)

Exhibition Opening: 21 January, 6 pm
with a lecture by Prof Maiken Umbach (University of Nottingham)
Photographing the Volk – Professional and Amateur Photography in the Third Reich

Followed by a private view with Dr. Christopher Webster van Tonder

Photography, like other modern media, was readily utilised in the promulgation of political and ideological concepts in Germany between the two world wars. This is especially true for the visualisation of racial and eugenic ideas developed in the nineteenth century and ideas of a ‘Germanic’ nation, subsequently incorporated in National Socialist thinking and propaganda. This exhibition (with illustrated catalogue) shown at the GHIL examines the work of the German photographer Erich Retzlaff (1899-1993) from the turbulent years between the nadir of the Weimar Republic and the downfall of the Third Reich as part of a visual discourse that emerged from an intellectual milieu deeply affected by the parascience of physiognomy and National Socialist race science.

More information