Hermann Beck

PROFESSOR and COOPER FELLOW

Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles (1989);

E-mail: hbeck@miami.edu
Office: Rm. 603 Ashe
Phone: (305) 284-5947
Fields of Interest: Modern Europe, Germany


ABOUT

Hermann Beck received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles after studying Germanistik and ancient and modern history at German universities (Mannheim, Freiburg, and Berlin), the London School of Economics, and the Sorbonne.  He has been a Fulbright Scholar, a Fellow at the Berliner Historische Kommission, and a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.  Beck is a recipient of the “Excellence in Teaching Award” at the University of Miami and served as Director of Undergraduate Studies in the History Department from 2003 to 2010.  He was Acting Chair of the Department in 2010-2011 and will serve again in that position in the Fall of 2015.

Beck is an historian of modern Germany, with particular interests in political, intellectual, social, and diplomatic history, as well as in the histoire des mentalités.  His book on nineteenth-century Germany, The Origins of the Authoritarian Welfare State in Prussia: Conservatives, Bureaucracy, and the Social Question, 1815-1870, combines approaches in social, intellectual, and administrative history and focuses on the mindset of Prussian conservatives and officials in their attempt to solve social problems.  His monograph on the early Nazi period, The Fateful Alliance: German Conservatives and Nazis in 1933. The Machtergreifung in a New Light examines the complex relationship between German conservatism and National Socialism and reveals the existence of a strong anti-conservative component in Nazism.  This study disproves the widely-held but erroneous assumption that National Socialism was mainly an extreme manifestation of rightist politics, demonstrating instead that it was a socio-political amalgam, combining violent opposition to the Left with a fervent antagonism toward the German Bürgertum that was comparable to leftist denunciations of the bourgeoisie.

Beck has also published articles on diverse topics in nineteenth and twentieth-century German history, such as German conservatism between 1815 and 1933, German socialism during the Age of Bismarck, the Prussian bureaucracy in the ninetexenth-century, anti-Semitism, and the Nazi seizure of power.  These articles have appeared in edited collections on conservatism, socialism, and Prussian history, as well as in American, British, and German journals, including the Historische Zeitschrift, the Journal of Modern History, Central European History, German History, Totalitarian Movements & Political Religions, Jahrbücher für die Geschichte Mittel- und Ostdeutschlands, Politics, Religion, & Society, and the Journal of Contemporary History.  In his current project, Beck examines the reaction of German institutions -- such as the army, the Christian churches, and political parties -- to the proliferation of violent anti-Semitic attacks during the Nazi seizure of power, addressing the puzzling issue of why there was so little opposition to anti-Semitic violence on the part of German society and elites at a time when resistance still seemed possible.  Forthcoming publications include a comprehensive analysis of Beck’s current research in a German-language edited collection on anti-Semitism, a chapter on the Nazi seizure of power in the Oxford Illustrated History of the Third Reich, and an article on the Janus-faced nature of national socialism in the Journal of Modern History.


BOOKS AND PUBLICATIONS

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