Oncken, Hermann

Oncken, Hermann

Oncken, Hermann (hĕrˈmän ôngˈkən), 1869–1946, German historian. He taught at the universities of Heidelberg, Munich, Chicago, and (1928–35) Berlin. He was forced to retire because of his opposition to the Nazi regime. Among his chief works are Napoleon III and the Rhine (1926, tr. 1928, repr. 1967) and a history (1933) of Germany from 1870 to World War I. His other writings include essays and excellent biographies of Ferdinand Lassalle (1904) and of Rudolf von Bennigsen (1910). Oncken also edited diplomatic documents dating from 1858 to 1871.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Oncken, Hermann


Born Nov. 16, 1869, in Oldenburg; died Dec. 28, 1945, in Göttingen. Conservative German historian. Professor at the universities of Chicago (1905–06), Heidelberg (1907), Munich (1923), and Berlin (1928–35).

A stalwart advocate of the theory claiming the preeminence of foreign policy over domestic policy, Oncken adhered to L. von Ranke’s historical method. He supported the establishment of a close trade and political alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary and viewed the expansionist policy of German imperialism as a defensive one, conditioned by Germany’s geographical position in the center of Europe. At the same time, Oncken criticized racial theory and advocated an “objective” evaluation of history. As a result, in 1935 the fascists deprived him of his chair in Berlin.


Das alte und das neue Mitteleuropa. Gotha, 1917.
Lassalle: Eine politische Biographie, 4th ed. Stuttgart-Berlin, 1923.
Die Rheinpolitik Kaiser Napoleons III…, vols. 1–3. Stuttgart, 1926.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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