Gerhard Ritter

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ritter, Gerhard


Born Apr. 6, 1888, in Bad Sooden-Allendorf; died July 1, 1967, in Freiburg. German historian (Federal Republic of Germany). Professor at the universities of Hamburg (1924–25) and Freiburg (1925–56).

Ritter wrote many works on the different periods of German history and on the methodology of history. Because of his idealist conception of the historical process, he regarded “strong personalities” as the motive force of history. Among Germans, he viewed Frederick the Great, O. von Bismarck, M. Luther, and K. Stein as strong personalities and devoted a number of his studies to them. In his works, Ritter denied that militarism played a pernicious role in German history and argued that the German generals and civil service were not implicated in fascism.


Machtstaat und Utopie. Munich-Berlin, 1940. (Fifth edition under the title Dämonie der Macht. Stuttgart, 1947.)
Europa und die deutsche Frage. Munich, 1948.
Carl Goerdeler und die deutsche Widerstandsbewegung. Stuttgart, 1955.
Staatskunst und Kriegshandwerk, vols. 1–4. Munich, 1954-68.


Berthold, W. “… Golodat’ i povinovat’sia”: Istoriografiia na sluzhbe germanskogo imperializma. Moscow, 1964. (Translated from German.)
Lunev, I. I. “Istoricheskie kontseptsii G. Rittera na sluzhbe germanskogo revanshizma.” Voenno-istoricheskii zhurnal, 1960, no. 12.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
And I particularly appreciate his deconstruction of Gerhard Ritter's reconstruction of the Schlieffen plan; it was long overdue.
Following the interpretation presented by the late Gerhard Ritter in his classic 1956 work, the Schlieffen Plan is commonly cited as evidence of the militarism that made Germany, if not the sole instigator of that war, certainly a principal culprit.
Zuber's close examination of the maps and annotations attached to the text of the 1906 Denkschrift in the archives shows that these were later productions by people other than von Schlieffen, and it was largely on the basis of these attachments that Gerhard Ritter developed his depiction of the "Schlieffen Plan" as an inflexible plan driven by a rigid and precise timetable.
For the ninety-two letters he edits (sixty-five between Cantimori and Bainton, twenty-seven more between one of the principals and others) bring us into contact not only with Cantimori's and Bainton's work on Italian and northern Protestantism, but also with a range of twentieth-century figures, from leading Italian Fascists such as Mussolini and Giovanni Gentile to scholars who were already then or who would in the future become prominent: Frederic Corss Cross, Elisabeth Feist Hirsch, Hajo Holborn, Hubert Jedin, Werner Kaegi, Walther Koehler, Stanislaw Kot, Gerhard Ritter, Earl Morse Wilbur, and, most especially, Paul Oskar Kristeller.
Zuber, in contrast, building on his article in War in History (1999), is concerned to argue that existing interpretations, especially that of Gerhard Ritter, are flawed, in that they propose a plan for a swift victory that Schlieffen did not foster and that, as a result of this reinterpretation, the case against German militarism and war guilt is weakened.
By pure luck, the original Schlieffen Plan documents survived, but they were only published by Gerhard Ritter in 1956.
The company landed its first container in December of 1992, and Gerhard Ritter, Bavaria House vice president, says the beer sold out quickly.
Friedrich Meinecke (by Jonathan Knudsen) and Gerhard Ritter (by Klaus Schwabe) exemplify the neo-Rankean tradition.
I was cordially received, and he immediately agreed to sponsor my work for the Habilitation, and he was joined by Edvard Fraenkel, Gerhard Ritter, and Wolfgang Schadewald.