Skip to content

Nick Stargardt

Visiting Scholar 2016-2017

Residency Dates: September 1, 2016 - December 20, 2016


Nick Stargardt

As a historian of modern Germany, I am most interested in the human scale of history, how ordinary people experienced and understood the periods they were living through and what choices they imagined they had at the time. For the last 20 years, I have tried to understand the experience of those who lived in Germany and under German occupation during the Second World War. This has resulted in two major books. Witnesses of War: Children’s Lives under the Nazis (2005) was the first work to show how children experienced the Second World War under the Nazis, exploring the widely divergent experiences of German and Jewish, Polish and Czech, Sinti and the disabled children. The book showed how, as the ‘safe’ bounds of childhood were destroyed by the war and by a regime bent on separating children out along racial lines, children became increasingly important social actors in their own right.

The German War: A Nation under Arms, 1939-45 (2015) answers the key question without which we cannot understand how Germans were able to continue the war till the bitter end: What did they think they were fighting for? How did the changing course of the conflict — the victories of the Blitzkrieg, the first defeats in the east, the bombing of Germany’s cities — change their views and expectations? When did Germans first realise that they were fighting a genocidal war and how did they deal with this knowledge?

My first book, The German Idea of Militarism (1994) dealt with an earlier catastrophe – how hopes for a peaceful, democratic and demilitarised Europe were destroyed when the First World War broke out in 1914.

This information is accurate for the time period that the scholar is affiliated with CES.


  • Professor of Modern European History, Oxford University


  • Nick Stargardt, The German War: A Nation under Arms, 1939-45, (London: Bodley Head, 2015).
  • Nick Stargardt, Witnesses of War: Children’s Lives under the Nazis, (London: Jonathan Cape, 2005).
  • Nick Stargardt, The German Idea of Militarism: Radical and Socialist Critics, 1866-1914, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).

Other Material

Modern German History

Areas of Expertise:
Intellectual history
Social history
History of subjectivity

Research Topic:
The Use of Subjective Sources for Writing Social History