Rudolf von Albertini

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Rudolf von Albertini (born August 28, 1923 in Zurich ; † February 24, 2004 in Fürstenau ) was a Swiss historian .

Rudolf von Albertini came from the Graubünden nobility, his father was a transport company. He attended high school in Zurich from 1935 to 1942. In the winter semester 1942/43 he enrolled at the University of Zurich for jurisprudence , but rose very next semester on the history and philosophy to. From autumn 1943 to summer 1945 he did military service. In the winter semester 1945/46 he studied at the University of Basel . In the winter semester of 1946/47 he was enrolled at the Sorbonne , where he heard Pierre Renouvin , Camille- Ernest Labrousse and Jean Wahl . His most important academic teacher was Leonhard von Muralt . Albertini received his doctorate in Zurich at the end of 1949 with a thesis on the history of political ideas in France in Richelieu's time . Then he went to Florence , where his habilitation thesis The Florentine State Consciousness in the Transition from Republic to Principate (1955) was written. For a short time he was a private lecturer in Zurich.

From the winter semester 1957/58 to the summer semester 1967 von Albertini taught first as an associate professor and then as a full professor at Heidelberg University . Since his time in Heidelberg he has been concerned with colonial history . One of his students in Heidelberg was Helmut Kohl , who wrote a seminar paper on the popular front in France at von Albertini . A grant from the Rockefeller Foundation enabled him to do research at Yale University in 1962 . In 1967, he turned down a position at Harvard University . From 1967 to 1987 he taught as a full professor for modern history at the University of Zurich . Jörg Fisch succeeded him in Zurich . Albert Wirz was one of Albertini's academic students .

His main research interests were the 17th and 18th centuries, France in the 19th and 20th centuries, colonial and third world history, and the history of Italy . From the mid-1950s to the early 1960s, he devoted himself in particular to the historical development of France in the 19th and 20th centuries. During this time Albertini published numerous essays on the government and party system of the Third Republic . In the mid and late 1960s, Albertini's publications brought other continents to the fore. He published studies on the American attitude to the colonial question or on England as a world power. However, his perspective remained Europe-centric. This perspective has only been overcome in publications since 1970. Albertini's standard works were Decolonization (1966) and European Colonial Rule 1880–1940 (1976). Both representations were translated into English and made Albertini a leading colonial and Third World historian. Also relevant is his contribution Problems in Developing Countries, Development Aid and the North-South Conflict in Volume 36 of Fischer's World History. In addition to his teaching and research work, Albertini was involved in development aid . From 1973 to 1985 he was President of Swissaid . In particular, his commitment to the Third World earned him the nickname “Red Baron” from students.

Fonts (selection)

  • Political thought in France at the time of Richelieu. Simons, Marburg 1951 (dissertation, University of Zurich, 1951).
  • The Florentine state consciousness in the transition from the republic to the principate. Francke, Bern 1955 ( online ; PDF; 28.8 MB). Italian edition under the title Firenze dalla repubblica al principato. Storia e coscienza politica , Turin 1995.
  • Freedom and Democracy in France. The discussion from the restoration to the resistance. Alber, Freiburg / Munich 1957.
  • Decolonization. The discussion about the administration and future of the colonies 1919–1960. West German publishing house, Cologne / Opladen 1966.
  • European colonial rule 1880–1940. Atlantis, Zurich / Freiburg im Breisgau 1976; 4th, unchanged edition: Steiner, Stuttgart 1997, ISBN 3-515-03818-3 .


  • Markus Bürgi: Albertini, Rudolf von. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  • Jörg Fisch: Obituary: Rudolf von Albertini (1923-2004). In: Die Weltwoche . 11/2004 (March 11, 2004), p. 27, online .
  • Peter Hablützel, Hans Werner Tobler , Albert Wirz (eds.): Third world. Historical character and political challenge: Festschrift for the 60th birthday of Rudolf von Albertini. Steiner, Wiesbaden 1983, ISBN 3-515-03987-2 .
  • Michael Jeismann : The red baron of Zurich. For the seventieth birthday of the historian Rudolf von Albertini. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . No. 199/1993 (August 28, 1993), p. 25.
  • Michael Jeismann: world opener. Rudolf von Albertini on his eightieth birthday. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. No. 199/2003 (August 28, 2003), p. 34.
  • Michael Jeismann: The wide view. On the death of Rudolf von Albertini. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. No. 52/2004 (March 2, 2004), p. 37.
  • Peter Stadler : Nekrolog Rudolf von Albertini (1923-2004). In: Historical magazine . Vol. 279 (2004), pp. 270-272.
  • Hans Werner Tobler: From the Florence of the Renaissance to the North-South Problem. Rudolf von Albertini on his 80th birthday. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung of August 28, 2003, online .

Web links


  1. a b Markus Bürgi: Albertini, Rudolf von. In: Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz ., Accessed on August 14, 2013.
  2. CV. In: Rudolf von Albertini: The political thinking in France at the time of Richelieu. Brühlsche Universitätsdruckerei, Giessen 1951, p. 72.
  3. Eike Wolgast : The modern history in the 20th century. In: Jürgen Miethke (Ed.): History in Heidelberg. Berlin et al. 1926, pp. 127–157, here: p. 155.
  4. Bruno Weber: Helmut Kohl's teacher. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. No. 68/2004 (March 20, 2004), p. 8.
  5. ^ Rudolf von Albertini: Government and Parliament in the Third Republic. In: Historische Zeitschrift 188 (1959), pp. 17–48; Rudolf von Albertini: Party Organization and Party Concept in France 1789–1940. In: Historische Zeitschrift 193 (1961), pp. 529-600.
  6. ^ Rudolf von Albertini: The USA and the colonial question (1917 to 1945). In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 13 (1965), pp. 1–31; Rudolf von Albertini: The United States and the Colonial Question. In: Schweizer Monatshefte 44 (1964/65), pp. 402–414; Rudolf von Albertini: England as a world power and the structural change of the Commonwealth. In: Historische Zeitschrift 208 (1969), pp. 52-80.
  7. ^ Peter Hablützel: Historical research and political engagement. On the emergence of a global perspective in Rudolf von Albertini's historiography. In: Peter Hablützel, Hans Werner Tobler , Albert Wirz (Ed.): Third World. Historical character and political challenge: Festschrift for the 60th birthday of Rudolf von Albertini. Wiesbaden 1983, pp. 9-25, here: p. 22.