Richard J. Evans

Richard J. Evans is Regius Professor Emeritus of History at Cambridge and a former president of Wolfson College. He is the author of numerous books, including The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914, Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History and a three-volume history of the Third Reich.

Not So Special: Imitating Germany

Richard J. Evans, 7 March 2024

During​ the Second World War and the decades that followed, historians of modern Germany focused on one question: how did Nazism, with its negation of freedom and democracy, its aggressive commitment to war and conquest, its creation of a totalitarian state, and its visceral and genocidal antisemitism, take hold in Germany but not elsewhere in Europe? They sought an answer by delving deep...

Why did he not speak out? The Pope at War

Richard J. Evans, 19 October 2023

On​ 24 September 1943, following Italy’s surrender to the Allies and the subsequent occupation of Rome by German forces, Heinrich Himmler sent an order to Herbert Kappler, head of the SS in the capital city: ‘All Jews,’ it said, ‘without regard to nationality, age, sex or condition, must be transferred to Germany and liquidated there.’ On 16 October, SS...

Short Cuts: Rewritten History

Richard J. Evans, 2 December 2021

‘We won’t allow people to censor our past,’ Robert Jenrick, then communities secretary, said in January. ‘It is our privilege in this country to have inherited a deep, rich, fascinating and yes, often complex, past. We are mature enough as a society to understand that and to seek to pass it on, warts and all. To do otherwise would leave our history and future...

Staying Alive in the Ruins: Plato to Nato

Richard J. Evans, 22 April 2021

Justover forty years ago, in 1980, I found myself by chance teaching for a semester at Columbia University, armed with the grandiose title of Visiting Associate Professor of European History, provided with a free apartment and paid a salary not far short of what I earned in a whole year as a lowly lecturer in the UK. I’d never been to the US and knew nothing about Columbia or indeed...

From The Blog
9 April 2021

Eric Hobsbawm, the subject of a new documentary film by Anthony Wilks, wrote 24 pieces for the London Review of Books, the first in April 1981, the last in April 2012, a few months before his death at the age of 95.

Was Eric Hobsbawm interested in himself? Not, I think, so very much. He had a more than healthy ego and enough self-knowledge to admit it, but all his curiosity was turned outward.

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Echoes from the Far Side: The European Age

James Sheehan, 19 October 2017

Max Weber​ defined power as ‘the ability of an individual or group to achieve their own goals or aims when others are trying to prevent them from realising them’. The pursuit of...

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Richard Evans’s history of the Third Reich – it will be completed by a third volume covering the war – is an invaluable work of synthesis. The mass of specialist studies we now...

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Laid Down by Ranke: defending history

Peter Ghosh, 15 October 1998

Richard Evans hopes that this book will take the place of E.H. Carr’s What is History? and G.R. Elton’s The Practice of History as the ‘basic introduction’ to history as...

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Axeman as Ballroom Dancer

David Blackbourn, 17 July 1997

In future times people will look back on the death penalty as a piece of barbarity just as we now look back on torture.’ These confident words were spoken by a member of the 1848 Frankfurt...

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Germans and the German Past

J.P. Stern, 21 December 1989

The ‘white years’ of German history – the period between the end of the war and Adenauer’s first government of 1949 – were notable for two blank spaces in the...

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Disease and the Marketplace

Roy Porter, 26 November 1987

In mid-August 1892, Hamburg was basking in a heatwave. Workers splashed around in the River Elbe, which reached an almost unprecedented 70°F. Then people started to go down with intestinal...

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