Koht, Halvdan

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Koht, Halvdan


Born July 7, 1873, in Tromsø; died Dec. 12, 1965, in Oslo. Norwegian historian and politicial figure.

A philologist by education, Koht was professor at the University of Oslo from 1910 to 1935, chairman of the Norwegian Historical Society from 1912 to 1927 and from 1932 to 1936, president of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences from 1923 to 1939, and president of the International Committee on the Historical Sciences from 1926 to 1933. Although Koht’s research covers the history of Norway from the origin of the Norwegian state to the 20th century, his most significant works are on medieval history.

As a young scholar, Koht was greatly influenced by Marxism. He developed an original conception of Norway’s historic development, showing that it had been a feudal society; he thus undermined the official theory, according to which Norway’s historical fate has been unique. Koht joined the Norwegian Labor Party in 1915 and later joined its centrist majority. He was a deputy in the Storting from 1929 to 1937. Koht was minister of foreign affairs from March 1935 to February 1941 and lived in exile in London from 1940 to 1945. After the war he withdrew from politics.


Norsk bondereising. Oslo, 1926.
Historikar i lære. Oslo, 1951.
På leit etter liner i historia. Oslo, 1953.
Frå norsk midalder. Bergen, 1959.
Drivmakter i historia. Bergen, 1959.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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