Modern and Contemporary History

Modern and Contemporary History
Group leader
Julia Timpe
Distinguished Lecturer in History Deputy Study Program Chair "International Relations: Politics and History" (IRPH)
Specific themes and goals
  • History of the Everyday and Cultural History (time period: Nazi Germany) — We have focused on themes and questions related to everyday life in the Third Reich, examining activities and propaganda of the Nazi leisure organization “Kraft durch Freude” (in English: “Strength through Joy”). In the more recent publications, we specifically looked at the area of sports offered in companies by the Nazi leisure organization. In another project, several undergraduate students are contributing to “Home & Away/ Fern & Nah: An ordinary man’s experience of Nazi Germany and World War II.” The project is based on an analysis of documents from the private archive of a man from Northern Germany, who served as a soldier in the Wehrmacht during World War II.
  • Social and Economic History (time period: Nazi Germany) — In 2020, a doctoral researcher joined the History group, and is working on the history of the circle of Nazi-period industrialists known as the Freundeskreis Reichsführer SS.
  • Digital History — Some of our recent publications deal with digital history approaches when studying Nazi Germany. In collaboration with Constructor University’s robotic group, we have used digital tools to explore and map the unfinished World-War-II submarine yard in Bremen-Farge, “Bunker Valentin”. We are conducting two funded projects — namely “Digital Contingencies: Prospects and Limitations of Technology in Digital Humanities” and 3D Erfassung der Gedenkstätte U-Boot Bunker Valentin durch Luft, Boden- und Unterwasserroboter (Valentin-3D) — with Prof Andreas Birk’s robotics group. The projects are funded by Jacobs Foundation and BMBF respectively.
Highlights and impact

In December 2019, we co-organised a workshop on digital history in the research field of Nazi Germany (titled “Zeugnisse des Nationalsozialismus, digital – Projekte, Methoden,Theorien”) at Constructor University. It was hosted by the history group together with the Robotics Group. The scholarly workshop led to the publication of an edited volume, entitled “Writing the Digital History of Nazi Germany”.

Group composition & projects/funding

The history group includes one doctoral researcher, as well as several undergraduate students. It receives funding from the Jacobs Foundation and the BMBF.

Selected publications
  • Julia Timpe and Frederike Buda (eds.), Writing the Digital History of Nazi Germany: Potentialities and Challenges of Digitally Researching and Presenting the History of the Third Reich, World War II and the Holocaust. Berlin: DeGruyter 2022. 
  • Frederike Buda, Julia Timpe, and Christiane Charlotte Weber, “Digitale NS-Geschichtsschreibung. Herausforderungen im Umgang mit digitalen Quellen in der Geschichtsforschung und -vermittlung zum Nationalsozialismus.” Journal für Kultur und Geschichte der Deutschen im östlichen Europa 2 (2021): 57-77. 
  • Julia Timpe, “Mit Sport und Spiel zur ‘Volksgemeinschaft’: Betriebssport der NS-Organisation ‘Kraft durch Freude’.” Industrielle Arbeitswelt und Nationalsozialismus: Der Betrieb als Laboratorium der Volksgemeinschaft 1920–1960, edited by Frank Becker and Daniel Schmidt, 183–194. Essen: Klartext, 2020.