Horst Möller

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Horst Möller 2015
Möller (right) in conversation with Wolfgang Krieger

Horst Möller (born January 12, 1943 in Breslau ) is a German historian . From 1992 to 2011 he was director of the Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ) in Munich.


Horst Möller was born as the son of a building contractor in Breslau. In 1963 he graduated from the Hoffmann-von-Fallersleben School in Braunschweig . Möller studied history, philosophy and German at the universities of Göttingen and Berlin , where he passed the state examination in 1969 and received his doctorate in history under Thomas Nipperdey in 1972 . From 1969 to 1977 he was a research assistant at the Friedrich Meinecke Institute , and in 1978 he completed his habilitation there. The work was reviewed by Hans-Dietrich Loock and Ernst Nolte , who are said to have provided Nolte with leading support. His thematic focus in the 1970s was the history of Prussia and the Enlightenment in Europe. When he took up his position at the IfZ in 1979, the director Martin Broszat introduced him with the words: "Horst Möller comes from the 18th century."


In 1978 he moved to the Federal President's office under Walter Scheel as a speechwriter in Bonn . From 1979 to 1982 he was deputy director of the Institute for Contemporary History, from 1982 to 1989 professor for modern history at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg . For three years (from April 1, 1989 to March 31, 1992) he was director of the German Historical Institute in Paris .

Director of the Institute for Contemporary History

In 1992 he was appointed director of the Institute for Contemporary History and at the same time received a professorship at the University of Regensburg . In 1996 he moved to Munich and became Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at the Ludwig Maximilians University . He held both functions until his retirement in 2011. During this time, his thematic focus had shifted to the 20th century. He wrote about Prussia from 1918 to 1947, about the Weimar Republic and about Europe in the interwar period, and published about National Socialism.

Under his leadership, the IfZ's staff and budget doubled. With the reunification of Germany, the contemporary historians were faced with further tasks, and their activities were extended to include GDR history. On the other hand, with the Center for Contemporary History Research in Potsdam, another institute of a comparable type was founded for the first time in 1992, so that competition arose from the IfZ.

The Institute for Contemporary History opened a department first in Potsdam, then in Berlin and took over the technical supervision of the exhibition on Obersalzberg . The number of publications increased significantly. The most important projects included the editions of Joseph Goebbels' diaries and the files on the foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Germany. In response to the Wehrmacht exhibition , the IfZ under Möller developed the project “Wehrmacht in the Nazi dictatorship”, from which four books emerged. They refuted central theses of the Wehrmacht exhibition and the associated publications and allowed a direct look at the brutality and war crimes. Möller's personal closeness to France was expressed in the research project Democracy in the Interwar Period , which compared countries between Germany and France. Further topics were society and politics in Bavaria and the CSCE process . Under Möller, the edition of Hitler's speeches and writings from 1925 to 1933 was completed and under him the project on the prosecution of Nazi crimes in the German post-war justice system, which was completed in 2014, began.

During the Möller era, the IfZ was evaluated twice, in 1996 by the Science Council and in 2003 by the Leibniz Association . In both cases, the reviewers came to the conclusion that there was no longer-term concept and that too little innovative research was taking place. There are too few internationally comparable approaches and interdisciplinary cooperation.

His successor as director of the IfZ is his student Andreas Wirsching . In addition, his academic students include: a. Magnus Brechtken , Stefan Grüner , Manfred Kittel , Hans-Christof Kraus , Peter Lieb and Dieter Pohl .

After his retirement, he took on positions on numerous advisory boards and wrote an extensive biography about Franz Josef Strauss , which appeared in 2015 on the 100th year of his birth. He was the first scientist to have full access to Strauss's estate, which is located in the Archive for Christian Social Policy of the Hanns Seidel Foundation .

Controversy about Ernst Nolte

Möller held on 4 June 2000, the eulogy to the Konrad Adenauer Prize of Germany Foundation excellent Ernst Nolte . Heinrich August Winkler had advised against him in advance because of Nolte's role in the Historikerstreit 1986/87 and thereupon asked Möller to resign from the management of the Institute for Contemporary History. The joined Jürgen Kocka and Hans-Ulrich Wehler on.

In his celebratory speech, which Möller expressly wanted to give as a scientist and not as director of the IfZ, he distanced himself from Nolte's most controversial theses, but described him as a "history thinker in the tradition of the dialectical philosophy of history of Hegel and the comprehended history of Kant " and praised him expressly its internationally recognized "life's work of high standing and unmistakable individuality".


In the commemorative publication on his 65th birthday it was said: “Horst Möller's scientific roots are in the Enlightenment - as an object as well as a method.” Möller is described as an “avowed conservative”, “who, unlike his predecessor, not a productive troublemaker, is more likely to be one busy science manager who is represented in countless scientific advisory boards and committees. "


Möller is married and has two children. He dedicated his book Princely State or Citizenship - Germany 1763–1815 to his wife Hildegard .

Foreign teaching activities

Other functions and offices


Fonts (selection)

Möller has published around 200 essays and various books dealing with German, French and European history from the 17th century to the end of the 20th century. Several have been translated into different languages.


  • Enlightenment in Prussia. The publisher, publicist and historian Friedrich Nicolai . Colloquium publishing house. Berlin 1974, ISBN 3-7678-0361-5 (also dissertation, FU Berlin, 1972).
  • Exodus of culture. Writer, scientist and artist in emigration after 1933 . Beck, Munich 1984, ISBN 3-406-09293-4 .
  • Parliamentarism in Prussia 1919–1932 . Droste, Düsseldorf 1985, ISBN 3-7700-5133-5 .
  • Weimar. The unfinished democracy . Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, Munich 1985, ISBN 3-423-34059-2 .
  • Reason and criticism. German Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1986, ISBN 3-518-11269-4 .
  • Princely state or citizen nation? Germany 1763-1815 . Siedler, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-88680-054-7 .
  • Theodor Heuss. Statesman and writer . Bouvier, Bonn 1990, ISBN 3-416-02267-X .
  • Europe between the world wars . Oldenbourg, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-486-52321-X .
  • Saint-Gobain in Germany. From 1853 to the present. History of a European company . Beck, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-406-46772-5 (with the assistance of Hildegard Möller).
  • Franz Josef Strauss. Ruler and rebel . Piper, Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-492-05640-3 .



  • with Martin Broszat : The Third Reich. Ruling structure and history . CH Beck Verlag, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-406-09280-2 .
  • with Gérard Raulet and Andreas Wirsching: Endangered Center. Middle Classes and Political Culture Between World Wars: Italy, France and Germany . Thorbecke, Sigmaringen 1993, ISBN 3-7995-7329-1 .
  • with Jacques Morizet: Allemagne - France. Lieux de mémoire d'une histoire commune . Paris 1995.
  • with Andreas Wirsching and Walter Ziegler : National Socialism in the Region . Institute for Contemporary History, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-486-64500-5 .
  • with Ilja Mieck and Jürgen Voss : Paris and Berlin in the Revolution of 1848 . 1995.
  • with Rainer Eppelmann , Dorothee Wilms and Günter Nooke : Lexicon of GDR Socialism . 1996.
  • with Klaus Hildebrand : The Federal Republic of Germany and France. Documents 1949-1963 . 1997/99 (4 vol.).
  • with Udo Wengst : 50 years of the Institute for Contemporary History. A balance sheet . Oldenbourg, Munich 1999.
  • with Lothar Gall u. a .: Encyclopedia of German History .
  • with Eberhard Jäckel , Hermann Rudolph: From Heuss to Herzog. The Federal Presidents in the political system of the Federal Republic . 1999.
  • with Volker Dahm, Hartmut Mehringer : The deadly utopia. Pictures, texts, documents, data on the Third Reich . 2002.
  • with Manfred Kittel : Democracy in Germany and France 1918–1933 / 40. Contributions to a historical comparison , 2002.
  • with Udo Wengst: Introduction to contemporary history . Beck, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-406-50246-6 .
  • with Maurice Vaïsse: Willy Brandt and France . Oldenbourg, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-486-57649-6 .
  • with Manfred Kittel, Jirí Pešek, Oldrich Tuma: German-speaking minorities 1945. A European comparison . 2006 (Czech edition under the title: Nemecké menšiny v právnich normách 1938–1948. Ceskoslovensko ve srovnáni s vbybranými evropskými zememy).
  • Les relations franco-bavaroises. Textes réunis et publiés par Jacques Bariéty et Horst Möller , in: Revue d'Allemagne , tome 38 - no.3, July - September 2006.
  • with Jürgen John , Thomas Schaarschmidt : The NS-Gaue. Regional middle authorities in the centralized “leader state”? Oldenbourg, Munich 2007, ISBN 3-486-58086-8 .

Magazines and series

  • Quarterly issues for contemporary history (together with Karl Dietrich Bracher and Hans-Peter Schwarz)
  • VfZ publication series (together with Karl Dietrich Bracher and Hans-Peter Schwarz)
  • Historical Research Yearbook . 1982-2003.
  • Historical bibliography . 1987-2003.
  • with Klaus Hildebrand and Gregor Schöllgen : files on the foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Germany .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Horst Möller: Enlightenment in Prussia . Berlin 1974, SV
  2. ^ Horst Möller: Parliamentarism in Prussia 1919–1932 . Düsseldorf 1985, p. 6.
  3. a b c Rainer Blasius : Horst Möller. Competence and composure . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , January 7, 2013, No. 5, p. 32.
  4. ^ A b c Hans Maier: Change of office in the Institute for Contemporary History. Horst Möller is leaving office after 19 years . In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , De Gruyter, edition 3/2011, pp. 467–469.
  5. a b c d Volker Ullrich : An institute in the twilight . In: Die Zeit , June 21, 2000.
  6. ^ Roman Töppel: Wehrmacht in the Nazi dictatorship , review in Sehepunkte , Issue 10, Issue 7/8 (2010).
  7. ^ Leibniz Association: Statement on the Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ) .
  8. Horst Möller: Franz Josef Strauss , Piper Verlag, Munich 2015, ISBN 978-3-492-05640-3 .
  9. Dear Mr. Möller! , in: Die Zeit Nr. 25 (2000) ( online , accessed August 10, 2007).
  10. Berthold Seewald: When morality becomes the lever of power , in: Die Welt from June 21, 2000 ( online , accessed August 10, 2007).
  11. Cf. Richard Herzinger: Totalitäre Dynamic , in: Die Zeit No. 23 (2000) ( online , accessed on August 10, 2007).
  12. Klaus Hildebrand, Udo Wengst, Andreas Wirsching (eds.): History and knowledge of time . Oldenbourg Verlag 2008, ISBN 978-3-486-58507-0 , p. XI.
  13. Horst Möller in the Munzinger Archive , accessed on in Internationales Biographisches Archiv 38/2011 from September 20, 2011 (cs) Supplemented by news from MA-Journal up to week 25/2015 ( beginning of article freely available).