Heinz Duchhardt

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Heinz Duchhardt (born November 10, 1943 in Berleburg ) is a German historian with a focus on the early modern period . He held chairs for early modern history at the University of Bayreuth (1984–1988) and for modern history at the Westphalian Wilhelms University of Münster (1988–1995). From 1994 to 2011 he was director of the department for universal history at the Mainz Institute for European History . Duchhardt is one of the leading early modern historians in Germany. For decades he has worked intensively with early modern peace-making in general and the Peace of Westphalia from 1648 in particular.


Heinz Duchhardt was born a few months before the end of the war in the low mountain range of the Sauerland . His parents were of rural origin. He never got to know his father because he had died in the Soviet Union in 1944. In the post-war years, the family settled in Mainz. From 1963 to 1968 Duchhardt studied history, political science and art history at the universities of Mainz , Bonn and Vienna . Looking back, Duchhardt justified the decision to study history with traumatic experiences of loss and the experiences of the end of the war and post-war misery. Hermann Weber is one of his most important academic teachers . In 1968 he received his doctorate in Mainz with a thesis on Philipp Karl von Eltz supervised by Ludwig Petry . In 1969/70 he was assistant in the Federal Chancellery . In 1970 he was a research assistant at the University of Mainz. Two years later he married the art historian Sigrid Bösken . His habilitation took place in 1974 at the age of 31, also in Mainz, with a constitutional study that covers the entire early modern period. From 1980 to 1984 Duchhardt held professorial positions in Mannheim , Stuttgart and Bonn. Duchhardt was a professor at the University of Bayreuth (1984–1988) and the University of Münster (1988–1995). In 1993 he turned down a call to Jena. Matthias Schnettger is one of Duchhardt's most important academic students . From 1994 to 2011, he succeeded Karl Otmar von Aretin as director of the Institute for European History in the Department of Universal History . Duchhardt was President of the Max Weber Foundation from 2009 to 2015 .

Duchhardt is a full member of the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz (since 2001), corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (since 2003), external member of the Finnish Academy of Sciences , member of the Commission Internationale pour la Publication des Sources de l ' Histoire Européenne , member of the historical commissions Hessen (since 1977), Frankfurt (since 1985), Westphalia (full member from 1992 to 1998, corresponding member since 1998), Nassau (since 2001) and member of the historical commission at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences (since 1995). In 2011 Duchhardt received an honorary doctorate from the State University of Smolensk for his scientific and scientific organizational services. He is the first foreign scientist to receive this honor. Duchhardt was a member of the scientific advisory boards of the German Historical Institute Paris (1999–2007) and the German Historical Institute Moscow (2005–2008). He was a member of the Presidium of the Freiherr vom Stein Society (1998–2008). From 1996 to 2004 he was secretary of the Association of Historians in Germany . Duchhardt is a permanent visiting professor at the Chinese University of Quingdao .

Research priorities

His main research interests are international relations in the pre-modern era, historical peace research, the constitutional and social history of the Old Kingdom and Europe-related basic research. In his Habilitation in Mainz, he dealt with the plans for imperial candidacy by Protestant princes that were not carried out. With his work he wanted to prove “what the public opinion of an epoch considered conceivable with regard to the empire, whether and, if so, from when and how intensively a certain time dealt with Protestant imperial candidates and on whom these hopes and fears were directed were".

History of the Old Kingdom and historical peace research

Duchhardt is a proven expert on early modern peace congresses through numerous publications. He is head of a research project on the digital development of European peace treaties. He published numerous studies on peace, peace mediation and peacekeeping in the early modern period. 15 essays on this topic from 1979 to 2011 were published by Martin Espenhorst in 2012. The Peace of Westphalia of 1648 became one of Duchhardt's main fields of work in historical peace research. In 1996 he presented the relevant bibliography for the Peace of Westphalia. The bibliography includes 4095 titles on the Peace of Westphalia, its prehistory from the 1640s and the follow-up negotiations up to 1653/54 (processing ended December 1994). In his inaugural lecture in Münster in 1988, Duchhardt first pointed out that the European peace order of 1648 could not develop any long-term effects and that it collapsed in the 1670s by Louis XIV of France. Accordingly, he also rejects the concept of a “Westphalian system” over the centuries. In late 1996 he organized a large congress on the Peace of Westphalia in Münster. More than 100 experts from all over Europe and overseas took part in this congress. 39 of the lectures at this colloquium were published in 1998. In September 2009 Duchhardt organized an international conference on the Peace of the Pyrenees at the Institute for European History in Mainz , the 350th anniversary of which was concluded. The conference proceedings were published by him in 2010. It is the only publication in the German-speaking region around the anniversary. Duchhardt dealt with the mediation activities of the Archbishop of Mainz, Johann Philipp von Schönborn . A conference under the direction of Duchhardt and Martin Espenhorst took place in September 2012 in Baden, Aargau, on the occasion of the upcoming anniversary of the peace treaties of Utrecht, Rastatt and Baden 1713/14. The articles were published in 2013. In the same year, Duchhardt published a brief account of the Congress of Vienna , which is considered the most important European peace order of the 19th century. Also in 2013, Duchhardt and Johannes Wischmeyer published an anthology for the Congress of Vienna, which dates back to a conference at the Institute for European History in Mainz in March 2012 well before the anniversary. The focus was on the “reorganization of the relationship between state and church (es)” that had received little attention in the work on the Congress of Vienna. Duchhardt dealt with the church-political ideas of Freiherr vom Stein . In a paper published in 2015 he would like to work out the significance of the year 1648 for the individual major regions of Europe. He is looking into the question of “whether the continent really already felt itself to be a unity”, which he expressly affirmed. In 2017 he presented a history of the Thirty Years War .

Europe issue

Duchhardt has been intensifying the European issue since the 1990s. In 1990 he published in the Encyclopedia of German History the depiction of the Old Reich and the World of European States 1648–1806 . The comparative study of the early modern monarchies became a focus of the European theme. In 1992 the anthology European monarchy followed . The anthologies European History as a Historiographical Problem (1997), Europeans of the 20th Century (2002) and Vision Europe (2003) testify to his efforts in European history . Together with Franz Knipping he publishes the handbook of the history of international relations and wrote the sixth volume himself with Balance of Power and Pentarchy 1700–1785 . In 2000 he founded the Yearbook for European History. Together with István Németh, Duchhardt edited the contributions to a conference organized in June 2004 by the Institute for European History and the Eötvös Loránd University . The aim was to analyze the quality and intensity of the concept of Europe in Central and East Central Europe between the two world wars. Duchhardt also edited three volumes on European historians in 2006 and 2007 with Małgorzata Morawiec , Wolfgang Schmale and Winfried Schulze . For the ten-volume manual of the history of Europe series, edited by Peter Blickle , Duchhardt wrote the sixth volume on European history between 1650 and 1800, which was published in 2003 with the title Europe on the Eve of Modernity .

History of science

Duchhardt also dealt with the history of his own discipline. In 1993 he published a biography of the Jewish historian Arnold Berney . This work was one of the inspiring writings that made the processing of the history of historians under National Socialism the most important topic at the 42nd German Historians' Day in 1998. In May 2002 the Mainz Institute for European History organized a colloquium on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. The subject was history around 1950, because during this time "significant changes took place in German and international history" (p. VII). Duchhardt published the anthology in 2002. On the occasion of Martin Göhring 's 100th birthday , the Mainz Institute for European History held a workshop on January 9, 2004. Duchhardt dealt with Göhring's academic beginnings and his teaching activities in Halle, the Mainz European Congress of 1955 and Göhring's appointment to Gießen. Duchhardt published the anthology with nine articles in 2005. In 2018, he published a biography on the career of the historian Martin Göhring on the basis of a wide range of files.

Heinrich Friedrich Karl from and to the stone

Through a biography and numerous collections of articles, Duchhardt is considered a leading expert on the Prussian reformer Heinrich Friedrich Karl vom und zum Stein . A conference organized by the Freiherr-vom-Stein-Gesellschaft and the Institute for European History in Mainz in February 2002 dealt with the political and journalistic aspects of the reformer and asked about the history of its impact. A lecture by Duchhardt on November 8, 2003 at the plenary session of the Academy of Sciences and Literature on Stein Reception was published with a scientific annotation apparatus. A conference at the Institute for European History in Mainz in December 2006 dealt with the so far neglected last phase of life from 1815 to 1831. The ten contributions were published in 2007 by Duchhardt. For Stein's 250th birthday in 2007, he presented a 530-page biography. Until then, one had to rely on Gerhard Ritter's biography, which was last published in 1981 and dates back to 1931 . In his balance sheet, Duchhardt counts Stein “one of the most striking figures in recent German history”. A few months after his biography was published, he presented a number of supplementary studies in a volume ( Stein-Facetten. Studies on Karl vom und zum Stein ). In 2008 he also published a description of how Stein and his work were instrumentalized and stylized by contemporaries and subsequent generations. In 2010 he followed up with a brief portrait of Stein's life. Duchhardt pursued the goal of "making a petty aristocrat, whose claims were at the level of the high and highest nobility, understandable in his ties and thought categories [...]".

Discussion about absolutism as an epoch designation

The book by Nicholas Henshall (1992) sparked a discussion in early modern research about absolutism as a form of rule and as an epoch designation. In Germany Duchhardt appeared as a critic of this designation. Instead, he advocated the baroque term. This term renounces the rule-based view and is widely recognized in the neighboring disciplines. Criticism of Duchhardt's counter-proposal “Barock” was expressed by Peter Baumgart , among others , to which Duchhardt responded with a reply in the historical magazine . For the series Oldenbourg Grundriss der Geschichte he published in 1989 with the title The Age of Absolutism, a representation of the end of the Thirty Years War up to the French Revolution. From the fourth edition he said goodbye to the term absolutism as a term for the epoch itself and instead used the pair of terms “Baroque and Enlightenment ”. Already in the first edition he pointed out in the preface written at the end of 1987 that the term absolutism as a term for an epoch was a "solution to trouble". In an edition published in 2003, he understood the second half of the early modern period as the “eve” of the following epoch of “modernity”, as the terms “absolutism”, “dynastic age” or “prince-related epoch” were accelerated by “ Nationalization ”or the term“ Age of Enlightenment ”, which is understood primarily in terms of intellectual history

Further research

In 2009 Duchhardt published an anthology containing the German contributions to two German-Russian conferences in December 2007 in Mainz and in September 2008 in Moscow. The essays deal with the influence of the Germans in the Russian service in opening up the Far East. In 2012 Duchhardt edited an anthology on August Ludwig von Schlözer together with Martin Espenhorst . The publication goes back to the 200th anniversary of the death of the German enlightener, historian, political scientist and publicist. In 2009 a conference entitled "August Ludwig (von) Schlözer in Europe" was held on this occasion in Schlözer's birthplace in Kirchberg an der Jagst . The contributions intended to take stock of Schlözer's research to date. For the 200th anniversary of the Aachen Congress , he presented a presentation on this conference in 2018.

Fonts (selection)


  • Aborted research. On the history of unfinished science projects. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2020, ISBN 978-3-16-159041-2 .
  • Peace Miniatures. On the cultural history and iconography of peace in the premodern era. Aschendorff, Münster 2019, ISBN 978-3-402-13416-0 .
  • A career marked by upheavals. The historian Martin Göhring (1903–1968) in his time. Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 2018, ISBN 978-3-515-11966-5 .
  • The Aachener Kongress 1818. A European summit in Vormärz. Piper, Munich 2018, ISBN 978-3-492-05871-1 .
  • The path to the catastrophe of the Thirty Years War. The crisis decade 1608–1618. Piper, Munich 2017, ISBN 978-3-492-05749-3 .
  • 1648 - the year of the headlines. Europe between crisis and new beginnings. Böhlau, Vienna et al. 2015, ISBN 3-412-50120-4 .
  • The Congress of Vienna. The redesign of Europe in 1814/15. (= Beck series. C.-H.-Beck-Wissen 2778). Beck, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-406-65381-0 .
  • Freiherr vom Stein. Prussia's reformer and his time (= Beck'sche series. C.-H.-Beck-Wissen 2487). Beck, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-406-58787-0 .
  • Stone. A biography. Aschendorff, Münster 2007, ISBN 978-3-402-05365-2 .
  • Europe on the eve of modernity. 1650–1800 (= Handbook of the History of Europe. Vol. 6). Ulmer, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-8252-2338-8 .
  • Balance of power and pentarchy. International Relations 1700–1785 (= Handbook of the History of International Relations. Vol. 4). Schöningh, Paderborn et al. 1997, ISBN 3-506-73724-4 .
  • German constitutional history 1495–1806 (= Urban Pocket Books 417). Kohlhammer, Stuttgart et al. 1991, ISBN 3-17-010825-5 .
  • Old Reich and European states 1648–1806 (= Encyclopedia of German History . Vol. 4). Oldenbourg, Munich 1990, ISBN 3-486-55421-2 .
  • The age of absolutism (= Oldenbourg outline of history . Vol. 11). Oldenbourg, Munich 1989, ISBN 3-486-49741-3 (from the 4th, revised and expanded edition, as: Barock und Aufklerung. Ibid 2007, ISBN 978-3-486-49744-1 ).
  • Protestant Empire and Old Kingdom. The discussion about the emperor's denomination in politics, journalism and constitutional law (= publications of the Institute for European History Mainz. Department: Universal History. Vol. 87 = Contributions to the social and constitutional history of the Old Empire. Vol. 1). Steiner, Wiesbaden 1977, ISBN 3-515-02691-6 (At the same time: Mainz, University, habilitation paper, 1974: The idea of ​​a Protestant empire in the Old Reich. ).
  • Philipp Karl von Eltz. Elector of Mainz, Arch Chancellor of the Empire. (1732-1743). Studies on Kurmainzian imperial and domestic politics (= sources and treatises on the Middle Rhine church history. Vol. 10, ISSN  0480-7480 ). Society for Middle Rhine Church History and others, Mainz and others 1968 ( online at dilibri.de ).


  • Stone. The late years of the Prussian reformer. 1815-1831. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-525-36376-8 ( review ).
  • National history cultures. Balance sheet, charisma, relevance to Europe (= Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz. Treatises of the humanities and social sciences class. Year 2006, No. 4). Contributions to the international symposium in the Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz, from September 30 to October 2, 2004. Steiner, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 3-515-08899-7 .
  • Martin Göhring (1903–1968). Stations of a historian's life (= publications of the Institute for European History Mainz. Department for Universal History. Supplement 64). von Zabern, Mainz 2005, ISBN 3-8053-3526-1 .
  • The Peace of Westphalia. Diplomacy - political caesura - cultural environment - reception history (= historical magazine . Supplements NF Vol. 26). Oldenbourg, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-486-56328-9 .
  • In the middle of Europe. Germany and its neighbors. Europa Union Verlag, Bonn 1988, ISBN 3-7713-0341-9 .


  • Ronald G. Asch , Johannes Arndt , Matthias Schnettger (eds.): The early modern monarchy and its inheritance. Festschrift for Heinz Duchhardt on his 60th birthday. Waxmann, Münster et al. 2003, ISBN 3-8309-1321-4 .
  • Irene Dingel , Johannes Paulmann , Matthias Schnettger and Martin Wrede (eds.): Theatrum Belli - Theatrum Pacis. Conflicts and conflict settlement in early modern Europe. Festschrift for Heinz Duchhardt on his 75th birthday. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2018, ISBN 978-3-525-37083-4 .
  • Duchhardt, Heinz. In: Kürschner's German Scholars Calendar. Bio-bibliographical directory of contemporary German-speaking scientists. Volume 1: A-G. 26th edition. de Gruyter, Berlin et al. 2014, ISBN 978-3-11-030256-1 , p. 681.
  • Inaugural speech Mr. Heinz Duchhardt. In: Yearbook of the Academy of Sciences and Literature , 53rd year, 2002, pp. 108–109.
  • Oliver Junge: A history diplomat. For the sixtieth birthday of the Mainz historian Heinz Duchhardt. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , November 10, 2003, No. 261, p. 35.

Web links


  1. Barbara Stambolis : Life with and in history. German historian born in 1943. Essen 2010, p. 99.
  2. See the review by Hans Schmidt in: Archivalische Zeitschrift 67 (1971), pp. 213-214.
  3. ^ Member entry of Heinz Duchhardt at the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz .
  4. Tobias Wulf: Chairman of the DGIA Foundation Council receives an honorary doctorate from the University of Smolensk. In: Foundation - German Humanities Institutes Abroad , October 5, 2011.
  5. ^ Heinz Duchhardt: Protestant Empire and Old Reich. The discussion about the emperor's denomination in politics, journalism and constitutional law. Wiesbaden 1977, p. 3.
  6. ^ Heinz Duchhardt: Peace in pre-modern Europe. Selected articles 1979–2011. Edited and introduced by Martin Espenhorst. Paderborn et al. 2012.
  7. Heinz Duchhardt (Ed.): Bibliography on the Peace of Westphalia. Edited by Eva Ortlieb and Matthias Schnettger. Münster 1996. See the review by Volker Seresse in: Das Historisch-Politische Buch 46 (1998), p. 255.
  8. Heinz Duchhardt: Westphalian Peace and International System in the Ancien Regime. In: Historische Zeitschrift 249 (1989), pp. 529-543. Heinz Duchhardt is also similar: Securing peace in the century after the Peace of Westphalia. In: Manfred Spieker (Hrsg.): Friedenssicherung. Vol. 3: Historical, political science and military perspectives. Münster 1989, pp. 11-18, here: p. 17.
  9. Heinz Duchhardt (ed.): The Westphalian Peace. Diplomacy, political caesura, cultural environment, reception history. Munich 1998. See the review by Winfried Dotzauer in: Nassauische Annalen 110 (1999), pp. 418–419.
  10. Heinz Duchhardt (ed.): The Peace of the Pyrenees 1659. Prehistory, echo, reception history. Göttingen 2010. See the review by Sven Externbrink in Francia-Recensio 2012/1 ( online ).
  11. See the review by Holger Kürbis in: Zeitschrift für Geschichtswwissenschaft 59 (2011), pp. 1074-1075, here: p. 1074.
  12. Heinz Duchhardt, Martin Espenhorst (ed.): Utrecht - Rastatt - Baden 1712-1714. A European peace work at the end of the era of Louis XIV. Göttingen 2013.
  13. ^ Heinz Duchhardt: The Congress of Vienna. The redesign of Europe in 1814/15. Munich 2013.
  14. Heinz Duchhardt, Johannes Wischmeyer (ed.): The Vienna Congress - a turning point in church politics? Göttingen 2013, p. 5.
  15. Heinz Duchhardt: Stein's "Church Policy" at the Congress of Vienna - a search for clues. In: Heinz Duchhardt, Johannes Wischmeyer (eds.): The Vienna Congress - a turning point in church politics? Göttingen 2013, pp. 175–182.
  16. Heinz Duchhardt: 1648 - the year of the headlines. Europe between crisis and new beginnings. Vienna et al. 2015, p. 15.
  17. Heinz Duchhardt: The way to the catastrophe of the Thirty Years War. The crisis decade 1608–1618. Munich 2017.
  18. Heinz Duchhardt, István Németh (ed.): The idea of ​​Europe in Hungary and Germany in the interwar period. Mainz 2005.
  19. Oliver Junge: A history diplomat. For the sixtieth birthday of the Mainz historian Heinz Duchhardt. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , November 10, 2003, No. 261, p. 35.
  20. See the review by Thomas Etzemüller in: Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte 91 (2004), p. 40.
  21. Heinz Duchhardt, Karl Teppe (Ed.): Karl vom and zum Stein. The actor, the author, his impact and reception history. Mainz 2003. See the review by Markus Müller-Henning in: Nassauische Annalen 117 (2006), pp. 563–566.
  22. Heinz Duchhardt: "because [...] stone was the sun around which all the others circled". The stone image through the ages. Mainz 2004. Cf. the review by Markus Müller-Henning in: Nassauische Annalen 117 (2006), pp. 567-568.
  23. Heinz Duchhardt (Ed.): Stein. The late years of the Prussian reformer 1815–1831. Göttingen 2007. See the review by Michael Kaiser in: Zeitschrift für Geschichtswwissenschaft 56 (2008), pp. 77–79.
  24. Heinz Duchhardt: Stein - A biography. Münster 2007. Cf. the reviews of Peter Burg in: Westfälische Forschungen 57 (2007), pp. 795–798; Hilmar Sack in: H-Soz-Kult , October 5, 2007, online ; Jörg-Detlef Kühne in: Archiv für Kulturgeschichte 91 (2009), pp. 250–253; Peter Burg in: Journal for Historical Research (2009), pp. 179–182; Barbara Vogel in: Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte 95 (2008), pp. 48–49; Michael Salewski in: Das Historisch-Politische Buch 55 (2007), pp. 225–227; Paul Nolte in: Rheinische Vierteljahrsblätter 75 (2011), pp. 408–410 ( digitized version ); Markus Müller-Henning in: Nassau Annals. 119 (2008), pp. 544-547; Elisabeth Fehrenbach in: Historische Zeitschrift 286 (2008), pp. 211–214; Gerrit Walther Was there who? A symbolic figure? Heinz Duchhardt worked hard for Freiherr vom Stein with a biography - but so correctly and scrupulously that no rounded picture emerges. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , July 9, 2008, No. 158, p. 32 ( online ); Christopher Clark in: German Historical Institute London Bulletin 32 (2010), pp. 94-97 ( online ).
  25. ^ Heinz Duchhardt: Stone. A biography. Aschendorff, Münster 2007, p. 455.
  26. See the reviews of Herbert Hömig in: Das Historisch-Politische Buch 55 (2007), p. 466; Markus Müller-Henning in: Nassauische Annalen 119 (2008), pp. 547-549.
  27. See the reviews by Ingolf Schneider in: Das Historisch-Politische Buch 57 (2009), pp. 88–89; Gabriele B. Clemens in: H-Soz-Kult , January 25, 2010, ( online ).
  28. Heinz Duchhardt: Freiherr vom Stein. Prussia's reformer and his time. Munich 2010, p. 7.
  29. Nicholas Henshall: The Myth of Absolutism. Change and Continuity in Early Modern European Monarchy. London et al. 1992.
  30. Heinz Duchhardt: Absolutism - Farewell to a concept of an epoch? In: Historische Zeitschrift 258 (1994), pp. 113–122, here: p. 120.
  31. Peter Baumgart: Absolutism a Myth? Enlightened absolutism a contradiction? Reflections on a controversial topic of contemporary early modern research. In: Journal for historical research 27 (2000), pp. 573-589.
  32. ^ Heinz Duchhardt: The absolutism debate - an anti-polemic. In: Historische Zeitschrift 275 (2002), pp. 323–331.
  33. See the review by Ludwig Biewer in: Nassauische Annalen 102 (1991), pp. 283–284.
  34. ^ Heinz Duchhardt: Baroque and Enlightenment. 4th, revised and expanded edition. Munich 2007.
  35. See the review by Herbert Langer in: Zeitschrift für Geschichtswwissenschaft 53 (2005), pp. 1054-1055.
  36. Heinz Duchhardt (Ed.): Russia, the Far East and the "Germans". Göttingen 2009. Cf. the review by Kristine Küntzel-Witt in: Comparativ 22 (2012), pp. 113–117.
  37. See the review by Peter Burg in: Historische Zeitschrift 309 (2019), pp. 511-512.