Christopher Clark

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Christopher M. Clark, Frankfurt Book Fair 2013

Sir Christopher Munro Clark (born March 14, 1960 in Sydney ) is an Australian historian living in Great Britain .

Christopher Clark teaches as Professor of Modern European History at St. Catharine's College , Cambridge and works as Regius Professor of History at the University of Cambridge . His main research interests are the history of Prussia and the First World War . In his work The Sleepwalkers , published in 2012, he relativized the thesis that the German Reich was primarily responsible for the First World War. For his services to Anglo-German relations Clark was in 2015 by Queen Elizabeth II. The Knights defeated.

life and work

After primary school, Christopher M. Clark attended the Sydney Grammar School from 1972 to 1978 . He studied history from 1979 to 1985 at the University of Sydney , 1985 to 1987 at the Free University of Berlin and from 1987 to 1991 at the Pembroke College of the University of Cambridge , where in 1991 he worked on the relationship between Jews and Protestants in Prussia in the 18th and 19th centuries. and 19th century Ph.D. received his doctorate. Clark has been a Fellow of St Catharine's College , Cambridge since 1991 and is the current Director of Studies in History. In 2003 he became a University Lecturer and in 2006 a Reader in Modern European History. Since 2008 he has taught as Professor of Modern European History at the University of Cambridge. In 2014 he was appointed Regius Professor of History at the University of Cambridge , succeeding Richard J. Evans .

Clark is an expert on Prussian history. His main research interests are the history of Pietism and Judaism in Prussia, the Kulturkampf in Germany and the Kulturkampf in Europe as well as the relationship between religion and the modern state. Clark is a member of the Working Group on the History of Prussia , a member of the Prussian Historical Commission since 2009 and a member of the German Historical Institute London and the Otto von Bismarck Foundation in Friedrichsruh since 2010 .

Clark at the Göttingen Historikertag 2014 in a discussion with Gerd Krumeich (right) about the First World War (with moderator Johannes Paulmann , center)

For his book Prussia. Aufstieg und Niedergang 1600–1947, the German translation of his 2006 book Iron Kingdom. The Rise and Downfall of Prussia 1600-1947, he was awarded the 2007 Wolfson Prize . In March 2007 it was number 1 in the non-fiction books of the month . In 2010 he was also awarded the Historical College Prize for this depiction . Clark is the first award winner from a non-German speaking country. His main thesis, represented in 17 chapters and on 800 pages, is that Germany “was not the fulfillment of Prussia, but its destruction”. The Kulturkampf in Prussia was marked by particular sharpness and radicalism, but Clark often emphasizes the normality of Prussia in the European context. In doing so, he also contradicts the Sonderweg thesis . The Prussian reforms at the beginning of the 19th century, much praised by older researchers, are judged more soberly by him. He also doubts the much-vaunted importance of the German Customs Union . His biography of Kaiser Wilhelm II , which in many ways represents an alternative to the negative portrayal of John CG Röhl , was also widely recognized by experts.

In his book on the First World War , The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 , which was published in German translation in 2013 ( Die Schlafwandler. How Europe moved into the First World War ), Clark presents the thesis of a particular war guilt that has dominated research up to now of the German Empire and traces the mechanisms that led to the beginning of the war. According to Clark, the war was by no means inevitable, but the risks of the strategy pursued in each case were not weighed up or adequately recognized in the countries involved. Clark's book received a wide response and was controversial. The work went through nineteen editions within almost two years and was translated into four languages. It was number 1 on the Spiegel bestseller list from September 30th to November 24th, 2013 .

Clark is an honored scientist. He has been a Fellow of the British Academy since 2010 . In 2013, Clark was awarded the Braunschweig History Prize by the Gerd and Irmela Biegel Foundation for History Education and the Technical University of Braunschweig , which was awarded for the first time and is endowed with 3000 euros. In the spring of 2013 he was awarded the Bruno Kreisky Prize for the political book for his work Die Schlafwandler . In 2014 he received the Arenberg Prize. A year later he was knighted for his "services to British-German relations" . Also in 2015 he became a corresponding member of the philosophical-historical class abroad of the Austrian Academy of Sciences .

In 2014, Clark was invited to give the opening speech at the Salzburg Festival . In autumn 2014 he took over the moderation for ZDF in the six-part documentary series Deutschland-Saga on the history of Germany . In 2016, ZDF broadcast the second Terra X series with him, because the native Australian also hosted the two-part Australian saga. In 2017, Clark hosted a six-part Europe saga .

In the dispute over the Hohenzollern's compensation claims against the Federal Republic of Germany, which escalated in 2019 , Clark prepared one of four historians' reports (alongside Stephan Malinowski , Rainer Orth and Peter Brandt ) on the question of what part the last Prussian Crown Prince had in the establishment of the National Socialist dictatorship , and whether the House of Hohenzollern had thus forfeited claims to compensation for property expropriated after 1945 in the Soviet zone of occupation . In contrast to Brandt and Malinowski, Clark's report came to the conclusion that Crown Prince Wilhelm had not given the National Socialist system any significant boost. Rather, he speaks of the “inability of the Crown Prince to act effectively in a complex and rapidly changing political environment”. Jan Böhmermann published the previously kept secret reports in November 2019 for his show Neo Magazin Royale on the Internet.

Clark is married to the German art historian Nina Lübbren . They have two sons. Lübbren teaches at Anglia Ruskin University .

Fonts (selection)


Web links

Commons : Christopher Clark  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Prime Minister's Office press release, 10 Downing Street: Regius Professor of History, Cambridge University: Christopher Clark, July 17, 2014.
  2. Christopher Clark: Prussia. Rise and fall. 1600-1947. Bonn 2007, p. 13.
  3. ^ Andreas Kilb : The self-destruction of Europe. Book review,, September 9, 2013, accessed on December 4, 2016. Berthold Seewald: “Obsessed with German war guilt” . In: , October 25, 2013, accessed December 4, 2016; Annika Mombauer: July Crisis and War Guilt - Theses and State of Research. In: Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte 64 (2014), H. 16/17, pp. 10-17 ( online , accessed July 19, 2017).
  4. Jürgen Angelow: Current representations and perspectives on the outbreak of the First World War. In: Historisches Jahrbuch 135 (2015), pp. 569–583, here p. 580.
  5. Harald Duin: Like sleepwalkers in the war , in: Braunschweiger Zeitung of October 15, 2013.
  6. Uwe Meier: Dr. hc Gerd Biegel on thin ice. In:, October 25, 2013; First award of the »Braunschweig History Prize«, October 14, 2013. "Braunschweig History Prize" goes to Prof. Dr. Christoph Clark . In: TourismusRegion BraunschweigerLAND e. V., accessed on November 24, 2016.
  7. ^ Bruno Kreisky Prize for the Political Book Prize winners 1993–2018
  8. ^ Prize winners of the Arenberg Foundation ( Memento from December 13, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  9. Patrick Bahners: A knight with foreign language skills. Cheer patriots and Europeans: Why England honors the historian Christopher Clark. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , June 20, 2015, No. 140, p. 12.
  10. ^ Second German television (ZDF): Australian saga. Accessed on July 11, 2016.
  11. Did Crown Prince Wilhelm make a significant contribution to the National Socialist system? , Report without a date, accessed on December 15, 2019
  12. , accessed on the day of publication; Andreas Kilb : Everything to light. Böhmermann's coup against the Hohenzollern. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , November 19, 2019, No. 269, p. 9 ( online ).
  13. Nina Lübbren at Anglia Ruskin University.