Peter Brandt (historian)

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Peter Brandt (2010)

Peter Willy Brandt (born October 4, 1948 in Berlin ) is a German historian and retired professor for modern and contemporary history at the Distance University in Hagen .



Peter Brandt was born as the eldest son of Rut and Willy Brandt in Berlin. His brothers are Lars Brandt and Matthias Brandt , his older half-sister Ninja (* 1940) comes from Willy Brandt's first marriage (1941–1948) with Carlota Thorkildsen as a premarital child. Peter Brandt is married and has two children.

School, university and doctorate

Ludwig Binder: Student revolt 1967/68, West Berlin; published by the House of History of the Federal Republic of Germany Right: Peter Brandt and girlfriend Maria during a protest march against the Polish military mission, March 13, 1968

Brandt attended the Schadow High School in Berlin . When his family moved to Bonn on December 1, 1966, following his father's appointment as Federal Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor, he was the only family member who stayed in Berlin because he did not want to change schools shortly before he graduated from high school, which he took in 1968.

He then began studying history and political science at the Free University of Berlin . During his student days he was politically active in the student movement. As a member of politically left-wing groups, he came into conflict with his father's political positions on several occasions. In the course of several trials against Brandt in 1967, among other things because of his participation in demonstrations against the imprisonment of Fritz Teufel , these differences became public. In 1968 he was on trial for “casserole”, but not together with Teufel and Langhans, as was alleged. Brandt had an “exceptionally warm sympathy” for the student activist Rudi Dutschke , although he did not share many of his positions.

Brandt received his doctorate in 1973 from the Free University with a dissertation on the reconstruction of the German labor movement after the Second World War using Bremen as an example.

Professional career

From 1973 to 1975 and from 1986 to 1989 Peter Brandt was a lecturer and freelance journalist in addition to his research activities.

In the meantime, Peter Brandt was from 1975 to 1986 research assistant or university assistant with Reinhard Rürup at the Institute for History of the Technical University of Berlin , who also supervised his habilitation thesis . In 1988 Brandt completed his habilitation at the TU Berlin with a study on the subject of student movements and early nationalism around 1800 .

Brandt has been a deputy chair since 1989, and since 1990 professor of modern history at the Open University in Hagen . At the Historical Institute of the FernUniversität he was responsible for German and European history from the 18th to the 20th century. From 2003 to 2017 he was director and is now honorary director of the Dimitris Tsatsos Institute for European Constitutional Studies at the FernUniversität and was spokesman for the historical doctoral program on social interests and political decision-making of the Hans Böckler Foundation . He was also a member of the university council of the FernUniversität, liaison lecturer of the Hans-Böckler-Foundation and the scientific advisory board Haus des Ruhrgebiets .

His academic work focuses on the areas of nationalism and bourgeois change since the 18th century, comparative European constitutional history since the 18th century, the history of the labor movement and socialism, and the German question , especially after 1945.

In addition to the usual representation of the subject in research and teaching and participation in academic self-government, Brandt has given and holds lectures at home and abroad, for example in Berlin, Bielefeld, Bochum, Göttingen, Zurich, Wroclaw, Oslo, Oxford, Birmingham, Paris, Rome and St. Petersburg.

In addition, Peter Brandt, together with Martin Kirsch and Arthur Schlegelmilch, is the editor of a manual in nine volumes with CD-ROM source edition on comparative European constitutional history since 1780, which has been published since 2004. Werner Daum is also co-editor .

On February 12, 2014, Brandt said goodbye with the lecture “Das Volk” - On the history of a controversial term in retirement. Some of the documents that were created during his service at the Fernuniversität Hagen are now in the archive of the Fernuniversität Hagen .

As professor emeritus, Brandt publicly distinguished himself by participating in an expert opinion on the question of whether the last Prussian Crown Prince, Wilhelm Prince of Prussia, had promoted the establishment of the National Socialist dictatorship. The research controversy resulting from the different results of Brandt's report and the reports of other historians and the public debate about "the legacy of the Hohenzollerns" that sparked this controversy were considered to be "the most important historical-political conflict in the country" at the end of 2019 (Der Mirror). Jan Böhmermann published the secret reports, which are important for the Hohenzollern's compensation claims , in November 2019 for his show Neo Magazin Royale on the Internet.

Social Commitment

In addition to his academic work, Brandt endeavors to achieve serious popularization (for example by publishing historical reading books, anniversary publications, participating in exhibitions or lectures at adult education centers, educational institutions of trade unions and political parties) as well as political engagement and political journalism in the 1980s and 1990s especially the problem of the division and reunification of Germany . He is a member of the SPD and the ver.di union . Because of his positions on nation and patriotism as well as after an interview in the weekly newspaper Junge Freiheit , Brandt received criticism. There was also internal discussion about his status as a liaison professor of the Hans Böckler Foundation.

In the issue of Junge Freiheit on February 4, 2005, he wrote an obituary for the right-wing journalist Wolfgang Venohr , who was a member of the Waffen SS in his youth . He is also one of the authors of the anthology A Life for Germany published in July 2005 by Junge Freiheit . Commemorative letter for Wolfgang Venohr 1925–2005 .

Peter Brandt was also a speaker at the Berlin fraternity Gothia and author of the national revolutionary monthly magazine We Ourselves .

Brandt is involved in the international scientific advisory boards of the journal Debate. Review of contemporary German affairs and Iablis. Yearbook for European processes . He was liaison professor of the Hans Böckler Foundation , member of the historical commission of the SPD party executive , member of the scientific advisory board of the foundation library of the Ruhr area . He is a member of the board of directors of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung , a member of the board of trustees of the Federal Chancellor Willy-Brandt-Foundation , as well as the advisory board of the Willy-Brandt-Archiv in the archive of social democracy , spokesman of the board of trustees of the German Society , founding member of the Institute for Cultural Analysis and Alteration Research and Deputy Chairman of the Willy Brandt Circle . He is editor of the online magazine Globkult .

He is a supporter of the left collective movement “ Stand up ”.


In 1966, Peter Brandt took on the role of the older Joachim Mahlke in the film adaptation of the Günter Grass novella Katz und Maus , his younger brother Lars Brandt took on the role of the younger Mahlke. Hansjürgen Pohland was responsible for the direction, production and script .


  • The left and the nation . Peter Brandt and Michael Vogt , audio CD, Publisher: Polarfilm (October 31, 2007).

Fonts (selection)

  • Anti-fascism and the labor movement. Structure, expression, politics in Bremen 1945/46 (= Hamburg contributions to social and contemporary history. Volume 11). Christians, Hamburg 1976, ISBN 3-7672-0400-2 (dissertation, 1973).
  • Workers' initiative 1945. 1976 (co-editor and author).
  • Workers ', soldiers' and people's councils 1918/19. 1980 (source edition, collaborator).
  • Prussia. On the social history of a state. 1981 (Volume 3 of the exhibition catalog Prussia - A balance sheet ).
  • With Herbert Ammon : The Left and the National Question. Rowohlt Verlag , Reinbek 1981.
  • Peter Brandt / Ulrich Schulze-Marmeling (ed.): Antifaschismus - Ein Reader. German voices against National Socialism and right-wing extremism from 1922 to the present . LitPol-Verlagsgesellschaft, Berlin 1985, ISBN 3-88279-030-X .
  • Socialism in Europe. Balance sheet and perspectives. 1989 (Associate Editor and Writer).
  • Popular movement and new democratic order in Baden 1918/19. 1991 (co-author).
  • With Dieter Groh : Patriotic journeymen ”. Social Democracy and the Nation 1860–1990. Munich 1992.
  • Was the German Empire reformable? Parties, political system and social order before 1914. In: Karsten Rudolph , Christl Wickert (Hrsg.): History as a possibility. Festschrift for Helga Grebing. Klartext Verlag, Essen 1995, pp. 190–210.
  • 1746/1996. Contributions to the history of the city of Hagen. 1996 (Associate Editor and Writer).
  • On the threshold of modernity. Germany around 1800. 1999 (editor and co-author), ISBN 9783860778630 .
  • Youth Movements as National Protest Cultures in Germany. In: Hartmut Lehmann , Hermann Wellenreuther (Ed.): German and American Nationalism. A Comparative Perspective, Oxford / New York 1999, pp. 371-428.
  • Difficult fatherland. German unity - national self-image - social emancipation. Collection of articles. 2001.
  • People . In: Historical Dictionary of Philosophy . Vol. 11, Basel 2001, Col. 1079-1090.
  • The labor movement of the 19th and 20th centuries. Development - Effect - Perspective. In: Yearbook for research on the history of the labor movement . Issue I / 2002.
  • Edited with Arthur Schlegelmilch , Reinhard Wendt : Symbolic power and staged statehood. “Constitutional culture” as an element of constitutional history. Dietz Verlag, Bonn 2005, ISBN 3-8012-4151-3 .
  • Edited with Martin Kirsch , Arthur Schlegelmilch : Handbook and sources on European constitutional history. Dietz Verlag, Bonn 2006 ff., ISBN 978-3-8012-4144-5 .
  • Social Development, Labor Movement and Socialism at the Beginning of the 21st Century. In: Yearbook for research on the history of the labor movement . Issue I / 2012.
  • With different eyes. Trial about the politician and private citizen Willy Brandt . Dietz Verlag, Bonn 2013, ISBN 978-3-8012-0441-9 .
  • Edited with Werner Daum , Miriam Horn: The Scandinavian Way into Modernity. Contributions to the history of Norway and Sweden from the late Middle Ages to the 20th century. Berliner Wissenschaftsverlag, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-8305-3638-3 .
  • Trotskyism in Germany - International Context and Historical Outline, Supplement to Issue 4/2018 Socialism (Journal) , ISBN 978-3-89965-882-8 .



Web links

Commons : Peter Brandt (historian)  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. .
  2. Schools / Brandt-Sohn - quiet is necessary . In: Der Spiegel . No. 17 , 1967, p. 58 ( Online - Apr. 17, 1967 ).
  3. Similar ways . In: Der Spiegel . No. 24 , 1968, p. 62-64 ( Online - June 10, 1968 ).
  4. Peter is seated . In: Der Spiegel . No. 17 , 1968, p. 198 ( Online - Apr. 22, 1968 ).
  5. Peter Brandt on Rudi Dutschke: "My long march" . In: Der Spiegel . No. 41 , 1980, pp. 240-245 ( Online - Oct. 6, 1980 ).
  6. The judgment of the Tiergarten District Court against Peter Brandt is partially documented in: Wolfgang Schivelbusch : Judgment of the Berlin-Tiergarten District Court against Peter Brandt , in: Kritische Justiz, Vol. 1, No. 1 (1968), pp. 68-73
  7. Unpublished habilitation thesis from the Technical University of Berlin in 1988: Student lifestyle and nationalism. Prehistory and early history of the General German Burschenschaft 1771–1819 / 23.
  8. Recording of the farewell lecture .
  9. .
  10. Secret negotiation or trial. The federal government and the Hohenzollern dilemma. In: Der Spiegel, December 6, 2019 .
  11. , accessed on the day of publication; Andreas Kilb : Everything to light. Böhmermann's coup against the Hohenzollern. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , November 19, 2019, No. 269, p. 9 ( online ).
  12. ^ Robert Scholz: Peter Brandt (SPD) advertises in "Junge Freiheit" for a "positive relationship to the nation" . In: Endstation Rechts , September 29, 2010.
  13. Article in Junge Freiheit .
  14. a b the Junge Freiheit interview “A positive relationship with the nation” October 1, 2010, p. 3 (in full).
  15. Niklas Meyer: About the right-wing social democrat Peter Brandt: The patriot from left . In: Jungle World. No. 36, September 6, 2012.
  16. Archived copy ( Memento from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  17. .
  18. .
  19. Globkult, biography of the publisher.
  20. Steve Hudson: Declaration by Social Democrats on #Wake up. In: September 4, 2018, accessed September 6, 2018 .