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Ian Kershaw (GBR)

* 29.04.1943

Sir Ian Kershaw, FBA (born 29 April 1943) is a British historian and author whose work has chiefly focused on the social history of 20th century Germany. He is regarded by many as one of the world's leading experts on Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, and is particularly noted for his monumental biographies of Hitler.

He was the leading disciple of the late West German historian Martin Broszat, and (until his retirement) professor at the University of Sheffield. Kershaw has called Broszat an "inspirational mentor" who did much to shape his understanding of National Socialist Germany. Kershaw served as historical adviser on numerous BBC documentaries, notably The Nazis: A Warning From History and War of the Century. He taught a module titled 'Germans against Hitler'.

His wife Dame Betty Kershaw was professor of nursing and dean of the School of Nursing Studies at the University of Sheffield.

Kershaw was born into a Roman Catholic family in Oldham, Lancashire, England, to Joseph Kershaw and Alice Robinson. He was educated at Counthill Grammar School, St Bede's College, Manchester, the University of Liverpool (BA) and Merton College, Oxford (D.Phil). He was originally trained as a medievalist but turned to the study of modern German social history in the 1970s. At first, he was mainly concerned with the economic history of Bolton Abbey. As a lecturer in medieval history at Manchester, Kershaw learnt German to study the German peasantry in the Middle Ages. In 1972, he visited Bavaria and was shocked to hear the views of an old man he met in a Munich café who told him: "You English were so foolish. If only you had sided with us. Together we could have defeated Bolshevism and ruled the earth!"—adding in for good measure that "The Jew is a louse!" As a result of this incident, Kershaw became keen to learn how and why ordinary people in Germany could support the Nazi ideology (National Socialism or Nazism).

Published work: 

Bolton Priory Rentals and Ministers; Accounts, 1473–1539, (ed.) (Leeds, 1969)
Bolton Priory. The Economy of a Northern Monastery, (Oxford, 1973).
"The Persecution of the Jews and German Popular Opinion in the Third Reich" pages 261–289 from Yearbook of the Leo Baeck Institute, Volume 26, 1981.
Popular Opinion and Political Dissent in the Third Reich. Bavaria, 1933–45, (Oxford, 1983, rev. 2002), ISBN 0-19-821922-9
The Nazi Dictatorship. Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation, (London, 1985, 4th ed., 2000) ISBN 0-340-76028-1
The 'Hitler Myth'. Image and Reality in the Third Reich (Oxford, 1987, rev. 2001). ISBN 0-19-280206-2
Weimar. Why did German Democracy Fail?, (ed.) (London, 1990) ISBN 0-312-04470-4
Hitler: A Profile in Power, (London, 1991, rev. 2001)
"'Improvised genocide?' The Emergence of the 'Final Solution' in the 'Wargenthau" pages 51–78 from Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Volume 2, December 1992.
"Working Towards the Führer: Reflections on the Nature of the Hitler Dictatorship" pages 103–118 from Contemporary European History, Volume 2, Issue #2, 1993; reprinted on pages 231–252 from The Third Reich edited by Christian Leitz, London: Blackwell, 1999, ISBN 0-631-20700-7.
Stalinism and Nazism: Dictatorships in Comparison, (ed. with Moshe Lewin) (Cambridge, 1997) ISBN 0-521-56521-9
Hitler 1889–1936: Hubris, (London, 1998) ISBN 0-393-32035-9
Hitler 1936–1945: Nemesis, (London, 2000) ISBN 0-393-32252-1
The Bolton Priory Compotus 1286–1325 (ed. with David Smith) (London, 2001)
Making Friends with Hitler: Lord Londonderry and the British Road to War, (London, 2004) ISBN 0-7139-9717-6
"Europe's Second Thirty Years War" pages 10–17 from History Today, Volume 55, Issue # 9, September 2005
Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions That Changed the World, 1940–1941 (London, 2007) ISBN 1-59420-123-4
Hitler, The Germans, and the Final Solution (Yale, 2008) ISBN 0-300-12427-9
Hitler (one-volume abridgment of Hitler 1889–1936 and Hitler 1936–1945; London, 2008) ISBN 1-84614-069-2
Luck of the Devil The Story of Operation Valkyrie, (London: Penguin Books, 2009), ISBN 0-14-104006-8
The End: Hitler's Germany 1944-45, (Allen Lane, 2011), ISBN 0-7139-9716-8



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