Hamburg Institute for Social Research (HIS)

Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung
Mittelweg 36
20148 Hamburg

Tel. +49 (0)40 414097-0


The Hamburg Institute for Social Research (HIS) is an operating foundation which was established in 1984 by Jan Philipp Reemtsma. Since 2015, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Knöbl is the director of Institute. Broad openness to a variety of topics and a distinctive range of services for the interested public are the hallmarks of this independent, unaffiliated research institution. This includes the Library, which is open to the public, and the Archives, which house holdings that are unique in Germany, including a special collection on "Protest, Resistance and Utopia in the Federal Republic of Germany".

The centerpiece of the Institute's activities is research. Scholars from the humanities and social sciences work together under one roof, with transdisciplinary dialogue forming the basis for research work. Proximity and close contact with public academic institutions are very important to us. Scholars present their projects and research findings to the public in articles, books, conferences, lectures, and exhibitions. Important forums for academic publications and debate are the Institute's journal, Mittelweg 36, and the Institute's publishing company, Hamburger Edition.


Cold War Interests: 

Under the direction of historian Prof. Dr. Bernd Greiner, a research group focusing on the Cold War was active at HIS from 2003 until 2011. During this period, the research group held eight international symposia and published several monographs.

Work is based on the premise that the Cold War is a historical period which can be adequately understood and treated historiographically only by addressing its global dimensions. Therefore, in selecting topics for research, emphasis was placed on understanding regional, national, and global aspects in their mutual conditionality. While traditional issues in Cold War research were included in this work—focusing on international diplomacy and the history of armaments, conflicts, crises, and "small wars"—the Cold War was also understood and analyzed in terms of social history in keeping with more recently developed approaches. This reflected the fact that the key interest guiding research was to combine historization of the Cold War with analysis of the era from the perspectives of historiography and the social sciences.

Our LIBRARY has built up an extensive collection of books and journals on the Cold War, comprising more than 500 media, which can be viewed in the library's catalog. You can use the keywords "Cold War" and "East-West conflict" (among others) as search terms in the catalog.

In our ARCHIVES you will find extensive collections of informational sources on the Cold War.

Results of work presented at the series of conferences held from 2002 until 2010 were published by Hamburger Edition in a six-volume book series on the Cold War. The Hamburger Edition has also published other books on the Cold War.

Further publications can be found in the journal Mittelweg 36.