Hans-Peter Schwarz (historian)

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CDU Peace Congress Bonn 1983
Hans-Peter Schwarz (left) with Richard Stücklen , Erich Mende and Karl-Günther von Hase , 1989
Waterworks Talks 2008.

Hans-Peter Schwarz (born May 13, 1934 in Lörrach ; † June 14, 2017 in Herrsching am Ammersee ) was a German political scientist , contemporary historian and journalist . He was one of the most respected German contemporary historians of his time.

He was a full professor of political science at the Universities of Hamburg , Cologne and Bonn and focused on international relations, German history in the 20th century and the historical significance of Konrad Adenauer . He marked a turning point in research in 1975 as the editor of the first handbook on German foreign policy , which worked out the fundamental interdependence of domestic and foreign policy as a hallmark of recent history.

From 1978 to 2012 he was co-editor of the quarterly journal for contemporary history .

Live and act

Schwarz was born in 1934 as the son of a teacher. He attended the Hebel-Gymnasium in Loerrach . After graduating from high school in 1953, he began his studies at the University of Basel , and he also attended events at the Sorbonne in Paris. From 1954 to 1958 he studied political science, sociology, history and German at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg . In 1958 he received his doctorate from Arnold Bergstraesser with the dissertation The work of Ernst Jünger as a diagnosis of our time . In 1960 he passed his state examination; from 1962 to 1963 he was a research assistant at the University of Freiburg. In 1961 Schwarz married Annemarie Keller, and the marriage resulted in two children.

From 1963 to 1966 he was Professor of Political Science in Lower Saxony at the Osnabrück University of Education . In 1966 he received his habilitation from Theodor Eschenburg (Bergstraesser died in 1964) at the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen . His habilitation thesis dealt with the topic of Germany in the conflict of foreign policy concepts in the years of occupation 1945-1949 .

In 1966 he became Professor of Political Science at the University of Hamburg and in 1974 at the University of Cologne , where he was Director of the Research Institute for Political Science and European Issues and from 1980 to 1981 Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.

In the meantime he was visiting professor at St Antony's College , Oxford (1970). From 1975 to 1976 he was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC.

From 1987 he was a full professor for political science at the University of Bonn. As the successor to Karl Dietrich Bracher , he headed the Department of Political Science , and in 1999 he retired.

His academic students include Ralf Thomas Baus , Bettina Blank , Michael Borchard , Stefan Fröhlich , Xuewu Gu , Hanns Jürgen Küsters , Eckart Lohse , Robert Christian van Ooyen and Peter R. Weilemann .

Research priorities

As a political scientist, contemporary historian and journalist, Hans-Peter Schwarz dealt with recent German history, German domestic, foreign and German politics, developments in Europe and the international order as well as political actors and parties.

He was particularly interested in Konrad Adenauer and his era . For him, Konrad Adenauer was the most important politician in German post-war history. His two-volume Adenauer biography is considered a standard work. It "did more than some memorials or street signs to keep the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic alive in the memory of subsequent generations."

In 2012, Schwarz also published Helmut Kohl's first comprehensive political biography .


The conservative anarchist

In the work published in 1962 The Conservative Anarchist. Politics and time criticism Ernst Jünger dealt with Hans-Peter Schwarz with the political time critic Ernst Jünger .

From the Reich to the Federal Republic

In his epoch-making work From the Reich to the Federal Republic - Germany in the Controversy of Foreign Policy Concepts in the Years of Occupation 1945–1949 (1966), Hans-Peter Schwarz dealt with the structural adjustment pressures of post-war Germany, the foreign policy constellations relevant to the development of the Federal Republic of Germany and the the resulting options and constraints for domestic and foreign policy.

The 60s are marked by this, as Schwarz describes, that foreign policy was not seen as an alternative to ties to the Western European Atlantic states. On the one hand, the economic and political system was structured according to the model of this world of states, i.e. it corresponded to democratic capitalist ideas. So it seemed to be a matter of course that Germany should be integrated into this very world of states, although the democratic version of a system alone does not necessarily mean that it is bound to comparable systems. Schwarz describes how in the first moments of its foreign policy the FRG gave ideological solidarity with the Western Alliance priority over national needs, such as the unification of West and East Germany.

The following criteria are relevant for Schwarz when looking for reasons and causes for the West orientation of the Federal Republic of Germany: On the one hand, what were and are the motives for identifying the internal order of the Western model and foreign policy orientation to the West? Furthermore, which factors or practical constraints, such as ideological, economic and Soviet intransigence, pressure from the Western powers and the actions of individual personalities, were decisive for decisions or foreign policy directions in the individual phases? On the other hand, factors that were determined by the domestic and international constellation, such as the question of the main points of contact between West German and Western Allied interests.

The conflicts in Germany took place on four levels; between occupying powers, between the opposing ideological directions within the FR of Germany, between the occupying powers and the Germans, as well as among the Germans. According to Schwarz, the tendency of the political actors towards the west and thus inevitably towards the formation of blocs and the division of Germany was influenced by the Western European coal shortage, the shortage of foreign exchange, the intrinsic weight of administrative facts and value-oriented decisions. Adenauer's words on this were that Germany was inseparably part of the Christian-Occidental culture. Furthermore, one should not ignore the following point when considering the motives in foreign policy. According to Schwarz, the Federal Republic of Germany was dependent on the correct and, above all, contemporary coordination of foreign policy with the shifts in the field of forces between the USA and the Soviet Union , because coordinating German foreign policy with American behavior was particularly important in conflicts such as the Berlin blockade .

His conclusion is: "Despite all the changes that have occurred in the meantime, the situation that West Germans faced in 1948 and 1949 does not fundamentally differ from that of 1966: they had to and must recognize foreign policy in their ties to the West, which is tailored to you and for which there is no real alternative. "

Handbook of German Foreign Policy

Christoph Weller emphasizes the importance of this work by recalling that Hans-Peter Schwarz stated in his definition of “external violence”: “While previously only a very limited part of the general state tasks also required foreign policy activity, today there is practical no area of ​​state activity in which at least more or less intensive coordination at the international level is not an indispensable prerequisite for successful domestic policy ”(Schwarz 1975, p. 37).

Especially in his handbook article The Federal Government and Foreign Relations , with special attention to institutional questions, he had already presented in great detail the blurring of the distinction between foreign and domestic policy at the beginning of the 1910s.

Notes on Adenauer

In his essay Comments on Adenauer (2004), Hans-Peter Schwarz described the political activities of the former Federal Chancellor and presented the criticism of Adenauer, its controversy and "the abyss of greatness" summarized and reflected in one overall impression. Schwarz divided his essay into seven Chapters: “Life”, “Achievements”, “Foreign Policy”, “Treason”, “Modernization”, “Night Sides”, “What Remains?”.

One aspect of the consideration is the influence of Adenauer in the Wilhelmine era before 1918 through the Prussian zeitgeist and his origins in the Catholic Rhineland. Schwarz caricatures the social way of thinking of the Cologne petty bourgeoisie, from which Adenauer originated: “In any case, one considers Cologne to be the center of the world, already considers the Düsseldorfers as enemies, especially the Berliners (...) and sees shortly behind the Bergisches Land the Asian steppe begin. "

On the other hand, Schwarz deals with the reasons for Adenauer's turn to Western European and Atlantic structures and the associated turning away from the former GDR and the Soviet Union. The turning point did not only result from the political events after 1945, but also from Adenauer's personal motivation, which he expresses with the "inseparable affiliation (Germany) to the Christian-Occidental culture". The communism felt Adenauer always a threat, which is another aspect to explain his anti-Soviet and anti-communist policy. Schwarz cautiously dubbed the fact that he only made limited and not active efforts to reunify the rest of Germany as a “controversial deal”.

Siegfried Schwarz said in a review that the East offered reunification through negotiations and that Adenauer did not want this. Hans-Peter Schwarz should have assessed this. The reviewer also criticizes the author's statements on the critics of Adenauer, for example the Spiegel founder Rudolf Augstein , whom Hans-Peter Schwarz describes as "[a] cheeky badger (...), [a] never quite grown-up bum, mixture of class leader and lout (...) strongly reinforced by the snottiness of the soldier (...) [and] nationalist (s) pure sang, full of resentment, arrogant, anti-French ”.

The new migration to Europe

The subtitle of his autobiographical essay is "On the loss of political control and moral certainties". He found “the new great migration” and “the reckless first decade of the 21st century” particularly unsettling. He advocated a “Schengen light”. In the opinion of Ludger Kühnhardt , Schwarz is “with a sure instinct (today it is probably better not to translate 'mercy', the beautiful old word that he likes to use in the migration essay in view of the requirements of dealing with refugees) and with depth of field (...) penetrated into all necessary facets of the topic. "

Georg Paul Hefty , on the other hand, criticizes the representation that Schwarz gives of the EU. He sees the main flaw in their institutions and not, what would actually be more politically appropriate, in the people. With Seehofer instead of Merkel, events in the EU would have been different, it was not because of the EU and its laws, as Schwarz thinks.

He agrees with Schwarz in his value section: “The redistribution concept, which in Berlin is described with astonishing chutzpah as the 'European solution', is nothing but a rather blatant attempt to hold the entirety of the member states of the EU jointly liable for a mistake that is difficult to understand . “However, he sees a contradiction between Schwarz 'orientation towards the nation state and his criticism of the disagreement among European countries.

Hefty concludes with the sober conclusion that the available scientific presentations on the subject are generally unsatisfactory because there are no concrete indications for improvement. The strength of the work is the detailed, circumspect and profound presentation of an undoubtedly global political event, but there could be no scientific solution for the historical dimensions of a “migration”, not even a legal or political solution in the current organization of Europe: “Already a term like welcome culture has proven to be too big to be politically sustained. How did one then want to politically contain a “mass migration” with the means of nation-state democracy? Only a power encompassing the continent would have a chance of success. "

The historian Dietmar Süß is less impressed by Schwarz's essay. While the biographies of Adenauer and Helmut Kohl have rightly been praised, his book on the causes and consequences of the “refugee crisis” will be remembered as a “historical source for a frighteningly insecure, hardened conservatism that has no inhibitions about polemical simplification” . Schwarz uses the stereotypes of Western scenarios of doom, which are linked to the term migration of peoples , suggests clarity where the circumstances are complex, and portrays those affected only “as a major collective problem, but never as individuals with different biographies”. The role of the church rarely appear in the considerations. Süß is amazed at how vehemently the denominational lines of connection as an important source of inspiration for German conservatism were cut with Schwarz.





  • Ernst Jünger's work as a diagnosis of our time . Freiburg im Breisgau 1958 (dissertation, University of Freiburg im Breisgau, Philosophical Faculty, February 26, 1958).
  • The conservative anarchist. Ernst Jünger's politics and criticism of the times (= Freiburg studies on politics and sociology ). Rombach, Freiburg im Breisgau 1962.
  • From the Reich to the Federal Republic. Germany in conflict with foreign policy concepts in the years of occupation 1945–1949 . (= Politica. Volume 38; edited by Wilhelm Hennis and Hans Maier). Luchterhand, Neuwied / Berlin 1966. 2nd, extended edition. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1980, ISBN 3-12-936980-5 .
  • CSCE interim assessment . Busse-Seewald, Stuttgart 1977, ISBN 3-512-00490-3 .
  • The Adenauer era. Founding years of the republic. 1949-1957 . DVA Stuttgart / Brockhaus, Mannheim 1981.
  • The Adenauer era. Change of epoch. 1957-1963 . DVA, Stuttgart / Brockhaus, Mannheim 1983.
  • The legend of the missed opportunity. The Stalin Note of March 10, 1952 . Belser, Stuttgart / Zurich 1982.
  • The tamed Germans. From obsession with power to oblivion . DVA, Stuttgart 1985.
  • Adenauer. The climb. 1876-1952 . DVA, Stuttgart 1986.
  • Adenauer. The statesman. 1952-1967 . DVA, Stuttgart 1991.
  • Encounters on the Seine. German Chancellor in Paris . Manesse, Zurich 1993.
  • The central power of Europe. Germany's return to the world stage . Siedler, Berlin 1994.
  • The face of the century. Monsters, saviors and media ratings . Siedler, Berlin 1998.
    • added new edition: The Face of the 20th Century. Monsters, saviors, mediocrities . Pantheon, Munich 2010.
  • Notes on Adenauer . DVA, Munich 2004.
  • Republic without a compass. Comments on German foreign policy . Propylaea, Berlin 2005
  • Fantastic reality. The 20th century as reflected in the political thriller . DVA, Stuttgart 2006.
  • Axel Springer. The biography . Propylaea, Berlin 2008.
  • Helmut Kohl. A political biography . DVA, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-421-04458-7 .
  • The new migration to Europe. About the loss of political control and moral certainties . DVA, Munich 2017, ISBN 978-3-421-04774-8 .
  • (edited by Hanns Jürgen Küsters): From Adenauer to Merkel. Memoirs of a critical contemporary witness . DVA, Munich 2018, ISBN 978-3-421-04838-7 .


Sole editor

  • Handbook of German Foreign Policy . Piper, Munich / Zurich, 1975.
  • Konrad Adenauer. Speeches 1917-1967. A selection . DVA, Stuttgart 1975.
  • The Federal Republic of Germany. A balance sheet after 60 years (ed. Or coord.). Böhlau, Cologne a. Munich 2008.
  • The parliamentary group as a power factor. CDU / CSU in the German Bundestag 1949 until today . Pantheon, Munich 2009.

Associate Editor

  • Konrad Adenauer and his time. Politics and personality of the first Federal Chancellor. Contributions by fellow travelers and contemporaries , 2nd vol. Ed. Together with Dieter Blumenwitz, Klaus Gotto, Hans Maier a. Konrad Repgen. DVA, Stuttgart 1976, 771 and 714 pp., ISBN 3-421-01752-2 and ISBN 3-421-01778-6 Volume 2.
  • Edition series of documents on Germany policy . (Co-editor 1984–2000)
  • Files on the foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Germany . Volume 1: Adenauer and the High Commissioners 1949–1951. Edited by Hans-Peter Schwarz in connection with Reiner Pommerin . Oldenbourg, Munich 1989, ISBN 3-486-55191-4 .
  • Edition series files on the foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Germany . Edited by the Institute for Contemporary History, Munich. (Co-editor 1989-2005)
  • Research and sources on contemporary history. Edition series of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Archive for Christian Democratic Politics. Edited with Günter Buch , Klaus Gotto, Hans Günter Hockerts, Hanns Jürgen Küsters u. Rudolf Morsey (co-editor from 1980).
  • Adenauer. Rhöndorfer edition 1984-2007 . Ed. Together with Rudolf Morsey i. A. of the Federal Chancellor Adenauer House Foundation , edited by Hanns Jürgen Küsters. Siedler, Berlin 1984.
  • The new world politics . Ed. Together with Karl Kaiser. Nomos, Baden-Baden 1995.
  • World politics in the new century . Ed. Together with Karl Kaiser. Nomos, Baden-Baden 2000.
  • with Karl Dietrich Bracher : Series of the quarterly books for contemporary history . (1978-2008).


  • Peter R. Weilemann, Hanns Jürgen Küsters , Günter letter (eds.): Power and criticism of time. Festschrift for Hans-Peter Schwarz on his 65th birthday (= Studies on Politics. Vol. 34). Schöningh, Paderborn et al. 1999, ISBN 3-506-79354-3 .
  • Frank Decker et al .: Hans-Peter Schwarz on his 70th birthday: Contributions to the symposium on May 13, 2004 at the University of Bonn (= Bonn academic speeches. Vol. 89). Bouvier, Bonn 2004, ISBN 3-416-03063-X .
  • Dominik Geppert , Hans Jörg Hennecke : Interests, values, responsibility: German foreign policy between the nation state, Europe and the West. Schöningh, Paderborn 2019, ISBN 978-3-506-70164-0 .
  • Eckhard Jesse : Hans-Peter Schwarz (born 1934) . In: Eckhard Jesse, Sebastian Liebold (Hrsg.): German political scientists - work and effect. From Abendroth to Zellentin. Nomos, Baden-Baden 2014, ISBN 978-3-8329-7647-7 , pp. 683 ff.
  • The fruitful proximity of science and journalism. Symposium on the 80th birthday of Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Schwarz . Contributions to the event, Berlin, June 25, 2014. Published by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung eV ( online , accessed on August 28, 2014).
  • Ludger Kühnhardt : On the death of Hans-Peter Schwarz. The conservative anarchist. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung from June 16, 2017.
  • Hanns Jürgen Küsters: Hans-Peter Schwarz (1934–2017). In: Historical magazine . Vol. 306, 2018, pp. 424-429.
  • Günther Schulz : Hans-Peter Schwarz (1934–2017). In: Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz. Yearbook. 68, 2017, pp. 51-53.

Radio / TV

Web links

Commons : Hans-Peter Schwarz  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Historian and biographer - Hans-Peter Schwarz is dead . In: Deutschlandfunk . 17th June 2017.
  2. ^ Quarterly issues for contemporary history: Hans-Peter Schwarz. Retrieved June 19, 2017 .
  3. ^ [Hanns Jürgen Küsters: Hans-Peter Schwarz], Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Retrieved August 17, 2020
  4. ^ Ludger Kühnhardt: On the death of Hans-Peter Schwarz: The conservative anarchist . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . June 16, 2017, ISSN  0174-4909 ( faz.net [accessed June 16, 2017]).
  5. ^ Ludger Kühnhardt: On the death of Hans-Peter Schwarz: The conservative anarchist . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . June 16, 2017, ISSN  0174-4909 ( faz.net [accessed June 16, 2017]).
  6. Hans-Peter Schwarz: From the Reich to the Federal Republic. Germany in conflict with foreign policy concepts in the years of occupation 1945–1949. Neuwied et al. 1966, p. 695.
  7. Hans-Peter Schwarz: The federal government and foreign relations. In the S. (Ed.): Handbook of German Foreign Policy. Munich 1975, pp. 43-112.
  8. ^ Christoph Weller: Keyword "Federal Ministries". In: Siegmar Schmidt, Gunther Hellmann, Reinhard Wolf (ed.): Handbook on German foreign policy. Wiesbaden 2007, p. 2, p. 15.
  9. ^ Siegfried Schwarz: Review of: Schwarz, Hans-Peter: Notes on Adenauer. Munich 2004. In: H-Soz-u-Kult . April 28, 2005 ( online ).
  10. ^ Ludger Kühnhardt: On the death of Hans-Peter Schwarz: The conservative anarchist . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . June 16, 2017, ISSN  0174-4909 ( faz.net [accessed June 16, 2017]).
  11. ^ Georg Paul Hefty: The refugees and the EU: Yes, studying asylum law is difficult . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . March 20, 2017, ISSN  0174-4909 ( faz.net [accessed June 17, 2017]).
  12. Dietmar Süss: All bulkheads tight. Hans-Peter Schwarz has written an astonishingly one-page book about refugees. It reveals the insecurity of the German conservatives. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung March 20, 2017.
  13. FAZ.net / Georg Paul Hefty : Review ; Table of contents, excerpt