School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Professor Daniel Siemens

Professor of European History

Background

I am a historian of modern (Central) Europe and its global entanglements, with a particular interest in the history of mass media and journalism, the interwar years, Nazism and its aftermath, the cultural history of politics, legal history, historiography, criminal history, German-Jewish history and the history of the GDR.

After having studied history, literature and law in Potsdam, Montpellier and Berlin, I received my doctorate in modern history from Humboldt University Berlin 2006, where I have also started to teach as a teaching assistant. I was appointed lecturer in Modern History at Bielefeld University in the fall of 2006. From 2011-14 I served as the DAAD Francis L. Carsten Lecturer in Modern German History at University College London, School of Slavonic and East European History (UCL-SSEES). Subsequently, I returned to Bielefeld University, where I submitted my habilitation thesis in 2016. I received the venia legendi in early 2017 and was promoted to the position of senior lecturer. In October 2017 I joined Newcastle University as professor of European history.

Roles and Responsibilities at Newcastle University

Member of Senate (2018-2021)

Postgraduate research selector for history (PGR selector)

Founder and Co-Convenor of the Modern European History Seminar

Co-Convenor of the North East Transnational and World History Seminar (NETWORC)

External Responsibilities

External examiner for history (UG) at Durham University, 2018-2022

Peer-Reviewer for Horizon 2020 - MSCA-IF

Honours and Awards

Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Contemporary History (ZZF), Potsdam (summer 2019)

Military History Monthly Book of the Year Award 2019 (shortlisted)

Stavenhagen Guest-Professorship at the Richard Koebner Minerva Center for German History, Hebrew University Jerusalem (2018)

DAAD Visiting professorship at the University of Bologna (2016)

Visiting Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies, LMU Munich (2015)

BBC History Magazine "Book of the Year" for The Making of a Nazi Hero (2013)

Prize 'Geisteswissenschaften International' for Horst Wessel: Tod und Verklaerung eines Nationalsozialisten (2010)

Member of the Junges Kolleg, a research network for excellent young researchers and scholars based at the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts, Duesseldorf (2009-2012)

Franz Steiner Prize for Transatlantic History (2006)

Erhard-Hoepfner-Prize by the Berliner Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft (2003)

Research Grants

from Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, Stiftung Mercator, German Historical Institute Washington DC, UCL, Bielefeld University, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung

Languages

German, English, French (active)

Spanish, Latin (passive)


Research

Current research projects

My new research project is 'Law and politics after the Holocaust: A global history of the United Restitution Organization (URO)'. The URO was a Jewish legal aid organization founded in London in 1948 that over the next two decades grew into a major player in the field of restitution and compensation. It helped Jewish and other victims of Nazi persecution to fight for their rights in the West German courts, yet it also influenced the politics of restitution as well as the early historiography of the Holocaust.

I am also working on a biography of Hermann Budzislawski (1901-1978), one of the most influential German journalists of the twentieth century, as well as preparing a book chapter for the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of the Weimar Republic.

Postgraduate and postdoctoral supervision

I welcome proposals from postgraduate students who are interested in topics related to my research and beyond, in particular in the history of modern Central Europe, media history, the history of crime, historiography and transnational history.

Potential applicants for British Academy, Leverhulme, or Marie Curie funding schemes are welcome to approach me to discuss their research plans.

I am also very much interested to hear from fellow academics to pursue joint-research projects. Please do not hesitate to get in touch!

At present, I am the lead supervisor for Kerstin Schulte (Bielefeld University), working on her PhD project "Volksgemeinschaft" Behind Barbed Wire: The Internment Camps in the British and American Zones of Occupation and their significance for German postwar society, 1945-1970 (supported by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung). I am also a member of the supervisory team of Stephen Freath (Newcastle University), working on Infanticide in the Coroner's Courts in north east England, 1850-1900, and of Yichi Chen (Newcastle University), working on The History of Changsha During the Sino-Japanese War.

Some background information

So far, I have published three monographs, edited several collective volumes and special issues, and have authored articles in internationally leading journals, including The Journal of Modern European History, The Journal of Genocide Research, The Journal of European Studies, Central Europe, Zeithistorische Forschungen/Studies in Contemporary History and Vierteljahrshefte fuer Zeitgeschichte.

My PhD dissertation studied the relationship between mass media, the judiciary and politics in Germany, France and the United States in the early twentieth century through a comparative historical approach. My second book is a biographical study of the early Nazi activist Horst Wessel, whom, after his violent death in 1930, was elevated into an icon of German youth by the Nazi regime. This book, originally published in German, was also translated into English. Very recently, my third book came out with Yale University press. Entitled Stormtroopers: A New History of Hitler's Brownshirts, it is the first comprehensive history of the Nazi stormtroopers (SA) that analyses the fate of this paramilitary organization until the end of the Second World War. Against the established historiographical consensus, I argue that the SA did not sink into oblivion after the 'Night of the Long Knives' in 1934, but gained new clout in the second half of the 1930s and even contributed to the extremely violent German warfare and to the Holocaust.

Richard J. Evans, reviewing the book for the London Review of Books, called it 'a comprehensive and carefully considered account, which will now be the standard work on the subject. […] Indispensable.' And Taylor Downing wrote in Military History Monthly: '[An] excellent new history of the Sturmableilungen. . . a convincing thesis, supported with immense scholarship and research in national, regional, and local archives, providing a rich and detailed history.'

I am also one of three principle investigators in an interdisciplinary research project on the history of the Central Association of German Citizen's of Jewish Faith (CV). We are currently preparing a collective volume that will contain original research and selected sources from the former archive of the CV, nowadays stored in Moscow. I am also one of three editors for a new textbook series on Modern German History that will to be published with Bloomsbury, London, beginning in 2019.

Memberships

At Newcastle University, I am founder and co-convenor of the Modern European History Seminar. I am also a member of the NUCoRe Heritage, of the Eastern European and Russia Research Group, the Forum of Human Rights and Social Justice and of the Military, War and Security Research Group. In addition, I am also a member of: Royal Historical Society (fellow), German History Society, German Association for British Studies, Forum Justizgeschichte, Microcosms of the Holocaust, Arbeitskreis Gewalt - Geschichte - Gesellschaft and Junges Kolleg at the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of the Sciences, Humanities and the Arts (alumnus).

More information

For further information, see also my profile at academia.edu (here) as well as my profile at Bielefeld University, my previous university (here).

Teaching

Office hours in 2019/20, term 1

Mondays, 1-3pm, and Wednesday, 11-12pm, both in ARMB 1.22a

Undergraduate Teaching

Introduction to European History (HIS 1027, module leader)

Varieties in European History (HIS 1029, team-taught)

The History of Modern Germany, 1806 until today (HIS 2241, module leader)

Genocide and Justice in the Twentieth Century: From the Armenian Genocide to the International Criminal Court (HIS 3235, module leader)

The Writing of History (HIS 3020, third-year dissertation module)

Reading History (HIS 3000, third year module, team-taught)

Postgraduate Teaching

Conflict in European History (HIS 8052 and HIS 8053, team-taught)

Practice in History (HIS 8061, team-taught)

MA dissertation module (QV31)

Publications