Sie sind hier: FRIAS School of History Fellows Prof. Dr. Richard Bessel

Prof. Dr. Richard Bessel

University of York

Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS)
School of History
D-79104 Freiburg im Breisgau


Born 1948; 1970 B.A. in History at Antioch College; 1977-1979 Parkes Fellow, University of Southampton; 1980 Dr. phil. in Modern History at University of Oxford; 1979-1998 Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, Open University; 1985 Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung Fellowship, TU Berlin; 1993-2003 Editor, German History; 1994 Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung Fellowship, TU Berlin; 1998-present Full Professor in History, University of York; 2003 Visiting Fellow, Max Planck Institut für Geschichte, Göttingen; 2005 Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung Fellowship, Freiburg University; 2005-2008 Chair, German History Society; 2011 Guest researcher, Institut für Zeitgeschichte, Munich; 2012 FRIAS Fellowship


PUBLICATIONS (10 selected)

  • Political Violence and the Rise of Nazism. The Storm Troopers in Eastern Germany 1925-1934 (New Haven and London, 1984).
  • Germany after the First World War (Oxford, 1993, paperback edition 1995).
  • (ed.) Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany: Comparisons and Contrasts (Cambridge, 1996).
  • (ed., with Ralph Jessen), Die Grenzen der Diktatur. Staat und Gesellschaft in der DDR (Göttingen, 1996).
  • (ed., with Clive Emsley), Patterns of Provocation: Police and Public Disorder (New York and Oxford, 2000).
  • (ed., with Dirk Schumann), Life after Death: Approaches to a Cultural and Social History of Europe during the 1940s and 1950s (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, with the German Historical Institute Washington, 2003).
  • Nazism and War (London and New York, 2004).
  • Germany 1945: From War to Peace (London and New York, 2009).
  • (ed., with Claudia Haake), Forced Removal in the Modern World (Oxford, Oxford University Press, with the German Historical Institut London, 2009).
  • (ed., with Nicholas Guyatt and Jane Rendall), War, Empire and Slavery, 1770-1830 (London, 2010).



"Violence. A Modern History!

In recent decades, violence has become a public concern bordering on an obsession, at least in Europe and North America.  There is a widespread conviction that we live in an era of unprecedented violence and, while levels of violence probably are impossible to measure, heightened concern about violence in public and private life is itself a historical development of considerable significance.  It points to what may be a profound shift in mentalities and, in turn, how people regard the proper conduct of politics, the state, the military, social interaction and intimate relations.  It has shaped politics and the language of politics, how wars have been regarded and how wars have been fought, how the state has operated and presented itself, how social interaction should be conducted, and what the sorts of intimate behaviour have come to be regarded as legitimate and desirable.  This – the recent shift in perceptions of violence – is the focus of my research project, the aim of which is to offer a brief modern history of violence by focusing on the question: How can we explain the remarkable increase in sensitivity towards violence that has occurred in Europe and across the western world particularly since the middle of the twentieth century?