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Magdalena Latkowska

Historikerstreit – przyczyny i skutki jednego z najważniejszych niemieckich sporów o historię w XX wieku


The article is devoted to a famous debate of German historians in the late 80s (“Historikerstreit”), which concerned the question of the German blame during the genocide during the World War II. As an introduction to the main topic, the debate from the 60s, so called “Fischer controversy”, is described. It concerned the degree of responsibility of the German politics in breaking out of the World War I. This difficult and long-lasting, but well founded a debate ended with a symbolic “victory” of Fischer, who claimed in his empirically well supported book that the German politics was mostly to blame. The “Historikerstreit”, however, was not similar to the preceding debate, neither in the style not in the result. Firstly, unlike the “Fischer controversy”, the main characteristic of the “Historikerstreit” was lack of any new scientific evidence and adduction of personal opinions of historians. Secondly, there was no “winner” of the debate, which ended in a draw and, paradoxically, ignored a question of the German blame to a considerable extent.