German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2050
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Gerda Henkel Visiting Professor

Professor Ulrich Herbert is the Gerda Henkel Visiting Professor for 2019/2020. He will spend a year researching and teaching at the German Historical Institute London and at the London School of Economics.

Ulrich Herbert’s research focuses on contemporary history in European perspective. Among other issues, he is particularly interested in the History of National Socialism, on which he has published widely. Both his dissertation on forced labour in wartime Germany and his habilitation on Werner Best remain seminal studies in this research area to the present day. Most recently, he has also highlighted the wider implications of German history in the 20th century by publishing a comprehensive monograph on this topic.

After studying history, German studies, and European ethnology, Professor Herbert received his PhD from the university of Essen in 1985 and his habilitation from the university of Hagen in 1992. Afterwards he served as director of the Research Center for the History of National Socialism in Hamburg before receiving a professorship for early modern and modern history at the University of Freiburg in 1995. In 1999, he was awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize in modern and contemporary history.

Email: u.herbert(ghi)


German and European History of the 20th Century; Holocaust Studies; Historical Migration Research

Recent Publications

  • A History of Twentieth-Century Germany, Oxford: Oxford UP 2019.
  • Das Dritte Reich. Geschichte einer Diktatur, München: Beck 2016.
  • Holocaust Research in Germany. The History and Prospects of a Difficult Discipline, in: Thomas Schlemmer, Alan E. Steinweis (Hg.): Holocaust and Memory in Europe. German Yearbook of Contemporary History, Vol. 1, Berlin/Boston 2016, S. 17-48.
  • Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der europäischen Juden durch das nationalsozialistische Deutschland, 16 vol., München: de Gruyter 2006 ff. (co-edit). (The persecution and murder of the European Jews by Nazi Germany, English: 2019 ff.)

Research Project

Migration Policy in Germany and Europe, 1980 - 2019

The policies of the European states and the EU towards refugees and asylum seekers have been inconsistent and contradictory since the 1980s. The aim of this research project is to attempt to cut a path through this thicket and to examine motives, interests, objectives, actors and processes of change in comparison.

Inaugural Lecture

The Short and the Long Twentieth Century: German and European Perspectives

If the 20th century is said to start in 1917 and end in 1990, then the conflict between capitalism and communism is declared to be the sign of the era. World War II, National Socialism and the Holocaust, as well as colonialism and decolonisation, are all defined by this contradiction and become secondary events. If the starting point is set around 1890 with the implementation of high industrialization, high imperialism and the culture of modernity, then the First World War and with it the emergence of the great ideological mass movements become the result of these decades of upheaval. The period up to the 1970s, when classical industrial society came to an end, is then understood as a unity.

Does all this apply to Germany, does it characterize a structuring of European history in the 20th century as a whole or do national historical differences predominate here?

10 December (6.30pm) at the German Historical Institute London (Conference Room)

As seating is limited, pre-registration to attend required by emailing: abellamy(ghi)

Download leaflet (PDF)

The Gerda Henkel Visiting Professorship is a co-operation of the Department of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the German Historical Institute London (GHIL), and the Gerda Henkel Professor’s home university. Its purpose is to promote awareness in Britain of German research on the history of the German Federal Republic and the German Democratic Republic, and to stimulate comparative work on German history in a European context. The first professorship was awarded in 2009.

Previous Visiting Professors:

  • 2018/2019 — Prof Dr Johanna Gehmacher (Vienna): Records and Notes from Trans/National Networks: Politics and Women’s Movement around 1900 in the Personal Papers of Käthe Schirmacher (1865-1930)
  • 2017/2018 — Prof Dr Arnd Bauerkämper (Berlin): Security and Humanity in the First World War. The Treatment of Civilian “Enemy Aliens” in the Belligerent States
  • 2016/2017 — Prof Dr Dominik Geppert (Bonn): A History of Divided Germany, 1945-1990
  • 2015/2016 — Prof Dr Lutz Raphael (Trier): Transformations of industrial labour in Western Europe between 1970 and 2000
  • 2014/2015 — Prof Dr Kiran Klaus Patel (Maastricht): Welfare in the Warfare State: Nazi Social Policy on the International Stage
  • 2013/2014 — Prof Dr Dorothee Wierling (Hamburg): Coffee Worlds. Trade in Green Coffee and its Agents: The Hamburg Coffee Merchants in the 20th century
  • 2012/2013 — Prof Dr Andreas Rödder (Mainz): The History of the Present
  • 2011/2012 — Prof Dr Ute Daniel (Braunschweig): Media and politics - an entangled history (c. 1900-1980)
  • 2010/2011 — Prof Dr Christoph Cornelißen (Frankfurt am Main): The British and German welfare states after "the great boom": public debates on social inequality and social justice since the 1970s
  • 2009/2010 — Prof Dr Johannes Paulmann (Mainz): International aid and solidarity: Humanitarian commitment and the media in Germany, c. 1950-1985


Gerda Henkel Foundation:
Dr Sybille Wüstemann
Tel.: +49 (0)211/936524 0
E-Mail: wuestemann(ghi)

German Historical Institute London:
Dr Tobias Becker
Tel.: +44 (0)20/7309 2016
E-Mail: becker(ghi)