Klaus Hildebrand

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Klaus Hildebrand (born November 18, 1941 in Bielefeld ) is a German historian .


Klaus Hildebrand was born in 1941 as the son of the managing director Ewald Hildebrand and his wife Maria, geb. Exchange, born in Bielefeld. After graduating from the Albert Schweitzer School in Kassel, he studied history, political science and German studies at the Philipps University of Marburg from 1961 , where Fritz Wagner and Andreas Hillgruber became his most important teachers. 1965 joined Hildebrand as a research assistant at the Department of Modern History of the Historical Institute of the Higher School of Economics Mannheim , where he in 1967 Manfred Schlenke with the dissertation Hitler, Nazi and colonial question from 1919 to 1945 doctorate was. 1972 also took place in Mannheim, the habilitation in the subject of modern history; Hildebrand then worked until 1974 as a scientific councilor or professor for general history with special consideration of contemporary history at Bielefeld University .

In 1974 Hildebrand was appointed Professor of Medieval and Modern History at the University of Frankfurt am Main . He declined an appointment to Harvard University because his teaching and research should have focused on the history of the Third Reich and foreign policy. In 1977 he moved to a chair for modern history at the University of Münster . From 1982 until his retirement in February 2010, Hildebrand was a full professor for Medieval and Modern History at the University of Bonn . Hildebrand's scientific work has been suspended since a serious illness in 2008; At his chair in Bonn he was represented by Dominik Geppert from 2008 to 2010 . His academic students include: a. Harald Biermann , Ralf Forsbach , Nils Havemann , Ulrich Lappenküper , Andreas Rödder , Thomas Schaarschmidt , Ulrich Schlie , Joachim Scholtyseck , Gregor Schöllgen , Christoph Studt and Hermann Wentker . Also Gerd R. Ueberschär was an assistant Hildebrand, who by his predecessor Paul Kluke was excited to dissertation.

Hildebrand's main research interests are the history of the European world, especially of the 19th and 20th centuries, and the history of international relations. His research overview The Third Reich , first published in 1979 and regularly updated since then, is considered a standard work and has been translated into several languages. One of his most important works is the overview presentation, The Past Reich, first published in 1995 . German foreign policy from Bismarck to Hitler . Hildebrand is also considered to be an expert on the history of German foreign policy since 1949 and was called in as an advisor on numerous TV documentaries. Among other things, he is co-editor of the book series Enzyklopädie Deutsche Geschichte and the Edition Akten on the foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Germany .

With his publications, Hildebrand is a prominent advocate of an approach based on the history of diplomacy. From a socio-historical perspective ( Hans-Ulrich Wehler , Hans Mommsen ) there is criticism that his explanatory approaches are too person-centered and intentional.

Hildebrand received numerous national and international awards for his research. In 1987 he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit, 1st class . Hildebrand is a member of numerous academic committees, including since 1982 the Commission for the History of Parliamentarism and Political Parties (1998-2007 as its President), since 1983 the Historical Commission at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institute for Contemporary History , as well since 1991 of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences . 1986/87 he was a member of the founding board of directors of the House of History ; since then he has been a member of the scientific advisory board there. In the college year 1992/1993 Hildebrand was a research fellow at the historical college in Munich. From 1998 to the end of 2009 he was co-editor of the historical magazine . Hildebrand was until 2008 a member of the then German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer used Independent Commission of Historians , the aufarbeitete the history of the Ministry scientifically.

Fonts (selection)

  • From Reich to World Empire: Hitler, NSDAP and the colonial question 1919–1945 (= publications of the Historical Institute of the University of Mannheim. Vol. 1). Fink, Munich 1969 (dissertation).
  • Bethmann-Hollweg, the chancellor without qualities? Judgments of historical research. A critical bibliography . Droste, Düsseldorf 1970.
  • German foreign policy 1933–1945. Calculus or dogma? Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1971; 5th, revised edition 1990, ISBN 3-17-009756-3 .
  • The German Reich and the Soviet Union in the international system 1918–1932. Legitimacy or Revolution? (= Frankfurt historical lectures. Vol. 4). Steiner, Wiesbaden 1976, ISBN 3-515-02503-0 .
  • The Third Reich (= Oldenbourg floor plan of history , vol. 17). Oldenbourg, Munich 1979; 7th revised edition 2009, ISBN 978-3-486-59200-9 (translated into English, French, Italian, Spanish and Japanese).
  • Edited with Karl Ferdinand Werner : Germany and France 1936–1939. 15th Franco-German Historians' Colloquium of the German Historical Institute in Paris (= supplements to Francia. Vol. 10). Artemis, Munich / Zurich 1981, ISBN 3-7608-4660-2 ( digitized on perspectivia.net ).
  • From Erhard to the grand coalition. 1963–1969 (= History of the Federal Republic of Germany. Vol. 4). Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1984, ISBN 3-421-06734-1 .
  • German foreign policy 1871-1918 (= Encyclopedia of German History . Vol. 2). Oldenbourg, Munich 1989; 3rd revised edition 2008, ISBN 978-3-486-58698-5 .
  • The past kingdom. German foreign policy from Bismarck to Hitler. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1995. ISBN 3-421-06691-4 ; several unchanged new editions; most recently: Oldenbourg, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-486-58605-3 . ( Table of contents ).
  • (Ed.) The German Empire in the Judgment of the Great Powers and European Neighbors (1871–1945) (= Writings of the Historical College. Colloquia , vol. 33). Munich 1995, ISBN 978-3-486-56084-8 ( digitized version ).
  • Empire - great power - nation. Reflections on the History of German Foreign Policy 1871–1945 (= Writings of the Historisches Kolleg. Lectures , No. 42). Munich 1995 ( digitized version ).
  • No intervention - the Pax Britannica and Prussia 1865 / 66–1869 / 70. An examination of English world politics in the 19th century . Oldenbourg, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-486-56198-7 .
  • (Ed.) Between Politics and Religion. Studies on the origin, existence and effect of totalitarianism (= writings of the historical college . Colloquia, vol. 59). Oldenbourg, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-486-56748-9 ( digitized ).


  • Lothar Gall : The regulative idea of ​​the reason of state. Authority through autonomy: on the sixtieth birthday of the historian Klaus Hildebrand. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , No. 268, November 17, 2001, p. 44.
  • Rainer Blasius : Klaus Hildebrand 70. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , No. 269, November 18, 2011, p. 6.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Gerd R. Ueberschär : Hitler and Finland 1939–1941 . Wiesbaden 1978, p. Xi.
  2. ↑ On this Hans-Ulrich Wehler: Modern Political History or “Great Cabinet Politics”? In: Geschichte und Gesellschaft 1 (1975), pp. 344-369; Klaus Hildebrand: History or “Social History”? The Need for a Political Historiography of International Relations. In: Historische Zeitschrift 223 (1976), pp. 328-357.
  3. ^ Federal Foreign Office: Independent Commission of Historians .