Richard Bessel

Richard Bessel FRHistS is professor of twentieth century history at the University of York and a member of the editorial boards of German History and History Today. He is a specialist in the social and political history of modern Germany, the aftermath of the two world wars and the history of policing.[1]

Richard Bessel

Richard Bessel

(1948-04-29) 29 April 1948 (age 73)
Academic background
Alma mater
Academic work

Bessel earned his BA at Antioch College and his DPhil at the University of Oxford. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.[1] He is also a fellow of the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies.[2]


Bessel's Germany 1945: From War to Peace (2009), dealing with the transition from German defeat at the end of the Second World War to peace, was positively reviewed by Jeffry Diefendorf in H-Net with the reviewer noting its relevance to modern debates about failed states and nation building.[3] Brian Ladd, in The New York Times, noted Bessel's "sober" treatment of the topic and his preference for understatement over pathos.[4]

In Violence - A Modern Obsession (2015), Bessel gave a history of violence in the twentieth century that The Guardian's reviewer saw as a warning.[5] Ian Bell, in The Herald, noted the denseness of the material and the hellishness of the twentieth century outlined by Bessel, but also that the work was thoughtful rather than being a polemic against violence.[6]

Selected publicationsEdit

  • Political Violence and the Rise of Nazism. The Storm Troopers in Eastern Germany 1925–1934. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984.
  • Germany after the First World War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993; paperback edition 1995.
  • Nazism and War. New York: Random House, 2004.
  • Germany 1945: From War to Peace. Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins, 2009.
  • Violence: A Modern Obsession. Simon & Schuster, 2015. ISBN 978-0743239578


  1. ^ a b Richard Bessel. University of York. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  2. ^ Prof. Dr. Richard Bessel. Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  3. ^ Jeffry Diefendorf. Review of Bessel, Richard, Germany 1945: From War to Peace. H-German, H-Net Reviews. May, 2010.
  4. ^ "Reaping the Whirlwind". Brian Ladd, New York Times, 13 August 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  5. ^ Violence: A Modern Obsession review – why the west has renounced savagery. Ian Thompson, The Guardian, 31 May 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  6. ^ Richard Bessel: Violence - A Modern Obsession (Simon & Schuster). Ian Bell, The Herald, 2 May 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2015.

External linksEdit