Historical Institute (University of Potsdam)

Universität Potsdam
Historisches Institut
Am Neuen Palais 10
14469 Potsdam

Bastian Matteo Scianna



The University of Potsdam stands for excellence in research as a modern and innovative institution. The chair for Military History / Cultural History of Violence is the only one of its kind in Germany. We cooperate with think tanks and numerous research institutions, which focus on military history, sociology or political science. Thereby manifold research methods and interdisciplinary approaches are combined to create knowledge transfers and a truly international atmosphere. The new master program "War and Conflict Studies" is modeled on these ideals and our students research causes, dynamics and the contexts of violent struggles from the early modern age until contemporary conflicts. Historical and sociological methods and subjects will be studied concurrently to offer a wide range of views and interpretations.

Cold War Interests: 

The chair's research focus lies in the 19th and 20th centuries. Hence, coming from the long nineteenth century, a comprehensive and intertwined approach can be pursued. By combining military history, memory studies and changes of culture and mentalities we research the development of the German Bundeswehr, the Austrian Bundesheer and the Italian Esercito during the Cold War. Our aim is to assess specific military cultures in context with the societal developments. Also the factor of peacekeeping missions as new forms of military deployment and its effects on the various armies, their traditions and soldierly self-understanding is studied. Future projects will include additional European countries to offer a comprehensive picture.

The study of intelligence cultures marks the second vital research area. The project "Kulturen der Intelligence", sponsored by the Gerda Henkel-Stiftung, the Landesgraduiertenförderung Rheinland-Pfalz and the Arts & Humanities Research Council, primarily investigates the development of intelligence cultures in Germany, Britain and the US. However, it is envisaged to widen the country-specific scope of the project and also to extend the time span under consideration to the second half of the 20th century.