Martin Broszat

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Martin Broszat ( August 14, 1926 in Leipzig - October 14, 1989 in Munich ) was a German historian . His main areas of work were the social history of the “Third Reich” and the history of anti-Semitism in Germany.


The son of a postal inspector attended the Königin-Carola-Gymnasium in Leipzig from 1937 until his Abitur in 1944 . Broszat was a member of the Hitler Youth in Großdeuben . In 1944 he became a member of the NSDAP ( membership number 9,994,096). He continued his history, German and philosophy studies, which he began at the University of Leipzig in 1946 , at the University of Cologne in 1949 . There he was in 1952 when Theodor Schieder with the work The anti-Semitic movement in Wilhelmine Germany to Dr. phil. PhD .

In 1955 Broszat went to the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich as a research assistant . Here he edited the quarterly journal for contemporary history from 1960 . In 1972 he succeeded Helmut Krausnick at the head of the institute, which he headed until his death.

Broszat was an honorary professor and visiting professor at the University of Konstanz , the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and the University of Oxford .

Martin Broszat was buried on October 20, 1989 in the Munich North Cemetery .


Methodically, Broszat was one of the leading functionalists in interpreting the “Third Reich” , who interpreted the path to the Holocaust not as a planned, intentional achievement of goals, but rather as a result of radicalization within the framework of the self-imposed factual and mobilization constraints of the NS bureaucracy (see NS research ).

In Hitler's State (1969) he succeeded in depicting a comprehensive structural history of National Socialism. The research project he led in Bavaria during the Nazi era had previously barely explored areas of everyday life. Even before the historians' dispute , he advocated historicizing National Socialism. In the essay published in 1985: “Plea for a historicization of National Socialism”, he spoke out in favor of a normalization in dealing with the Nazi past in historical studies. Dealing with it from a primarily moral and judgmental perspective, as has been the case in historical studies up to now, would make a scientifically differentiated approach to National Socialism more difficult.

A pathos of sobriety is worth striving for when researching National Socialism . The 'historicization' plea triggered a discussion between Broszat and Saul Friedländer , which was ostensibly carried out through an exchange of letters between the two historians. Intended for publication from the outset, this correspondence appeared in 1988 in the Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte. Saul Friedländer expressed his concerns about Broszat's finding of a lack of complexity in previous scientific work, in order to then ask about his actual motives for the demand for historicization.

Broszat distanced himself from an interpretation of his theses as a relativization of National Socialism. Rather, he wanted this to be understood as a plea against the suppression of the past. Assuming that there would be increasing disaffection with regard to the moral evaluation of National Socialism, attention should be directed to the claim of "historical insight" also in this epoch, taking into account scientific-analytical methodology. Broszat therefore called for a cross-period occupation with National Socialism and a more differentiated view of the development history of this epoch.

In 2003, insights into Broszat's NSDAP membership emerged. In Die Zeit , Norbert Frei discussed whether Broszat deliberately concealed his membership in the NSDAP or did not even know about it.

Together with Wolfgang Benz and Hermann Graml , he edited the dtv series German History of the Latest Times from the 19th Century to the Present .


Publications (selection)

  • as editor: Rudolf Höss : Commandant in Auschwitz. Autobiographical records. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt , Stuttgart 1958; most recently dtv 2008, ISBN 978-3-423-30127-5
  • National Socialism. Weltanschauung, program and reality. German publishing company, Stuttgart 1960.
  • National Socialist Poland Policy 1939–1945. Deutsche Verlag-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1961. Google
  • Two hundred years of German politics in Poland. Ehrenwirth, Munich 1963.
  • National Socialist Concentration Camps 1933–1945. In: Anatomie des SS- Staates, Volume 2, dtv, Munich 1965, pp. 9-160.
  • The Croatian Ustaše State, 1941–1945. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, Stuttgart 1965.
  • Hitler's state. Foundation and development of his inner constitution. Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag, Munich 1969; 12th edition ibid 1989.
  • as ed. with Elke Fröhlich a . a .: Bavaria in the Nazi era. 6 volumes. Munich / Vienna 1977–1983.
  • The seizure of power. The rise of the NSDAP and the destruction of the Weimar Republic. dtv, Munich 1984, ISBN 3-423-04516-7 .
  • After Hitler. The difficult handling of our history. Contributions by Martin Broszat. Edited by Hermann Graml and Klaus-Dietmar Henke . Oldenbourg, Munich 1986, ISBN 3-486-53882-9 .
  • as publisher: Caesuras after 1945. Essays on the periodization of German post-war history (= series of quarterly journals for contemporary history . Volume 61). Oldenbourg, Munich 1990.


  • Klaus-Dietmar Henke, Claudio Natoli: With the pathos of sobriety. Martin Broszat, the Institute for Contemporary History and Research on National Socialism. Campus, Frankfurt am Main 1991.
  • Kurt Pätzold : Martin Broszat and the science of history in the GDR. In: ZfG 39 (1991), pp. 663-676.
  • Nicolas Berg: The Holocaust and the West German Historians. Exploration and memory. (= Modern times. New research on the social and cultural history of the 19th and 20th centuries , Volume 3), Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht , Göttingen 2003, ISBN 3-89244-610-5 .
  • Norbert Frei (Ed.): Martin Broszat, the "State of Hitler" and the historicization of National Socialism. (= Jena Center History of the 20th Century. Lectures and Colloquia , Volume 1), Wallstein, Göttingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-8353-0184-9 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Martin Broszat in the Munzinger archive ( beginning of article freely available).
  2. ^ A b Norbert Frei : Hitler-Junge, born in 1926. In: Die Zeit , September 11, 2003.
  3. Sven F. Kellerhoff: Understanding does not mean playing down . In: Die Welt , September 12, 2003.
  4. Cf. Martin Broszat: Plea for a historicization of National Socialism , first in: Merkur , 1985, again in: ders .: Nach Hitler. The difficult handling of our history. Munich 1986, pp. 159-173; see. also: Klaus Große Kracht : The quarreling guild. Historical controversies in Germany after 1945. Göttingen 2005, pp. 112–114.
  5. See about the “Historicization of National Socialism”. An exchange of letters with Martin Broszat . In: Saul Friedländer : Reflecting on the Holocaust. Munich 2007, pp. 78–124.
  6. Information from the Office of the Federal President.
  7. Extract from the entire inventory in Poland. For the criteria see its introduction.