Hermann Beck

Interim Chair
Cooper Fellow

(305) 284-5947
Locator Code:


Hermann Beck received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles after studying Germanistik and ancient and modern history at German universities (Mannheim, Freiburg, and Berlin), the London School of Economics, and the Sorbonne.  He has been a Fulbright Scholar, a Fellow at the Berliner Historische Kommission, and a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.  Beck is a recipient of the “Excellence in Teaching Award” at the University of Miami, served as Director of Undergraduate Studies in the History Department from 2003 to 2010 and as Acting and Interim Chair of the Department in 2010-2011, 2015, and again since August 2021.

Beck is an historian of modern Germany, with particular interests in political, intellectual, and diplomatic history, as well as in the histoire des mentalités.  His book on nineteenth-century Germany, The Origins of the Authoritarian Welfare State in Prussia: Conservatives, Bureaucracy, and the Social Question, 1815-1870, combines approaches in social, intellectual, and administrative history and focuses on the mindset of Prussian conservatives and officials in their attempt to solve social problems.  His monograph on the early Nazi period, The Fateful Alliance: German Conservatives and Nazis in 1933. The Machtergreifung in a New Light, examines the complex relationship between German conservatism and National Socialism and reveals the existence of a strong anti-conservative component in Nazism.  This study disproves the widely-held but erroneous assumption that National Socialism was mainly an extreme manifestation of rightist politics, demonstrating instead that it was a socio-political amalgam, combining violent opposition to the Left with a fervent antagonism toward the German Bürgertum that was comparable to leftist denunciations of the bourgeoisie.

Beck has also published more than twenty articles on diverse topics in nineteenth and twentieth-century German history, such as German conservatism between 1815 and 1933, German socialism during the Age of Bismarck, the Prussian bureaucracy in the nineteenth-century, anti-Semitism, Fascism, and the Nazi seizure of power.  These articles have appeared in edited collections on conservatism, socialism, fascism, Prussian history, twentieth-century anti-Semitism, and the Nazi Seizue of Power, as well as in American, British, and German journals, including the Historische Zeitschrift, the Journal of Modern History, Central European History, German History, Totalitarian Movements & Political Religions, Jahrbücher für die Geschichte Mittel- und Ostdeutschlands, Politics, Religion, & Society, and the Journal of Contemporary History

Recent publications include the chapter on the Nazi takeover in the Oxford Illustrated History of the Third Reich, an edited collection, From Weimar to Hitler: Studies on the Dissolution of Weimar Democracy and the Establishment of the Third Reich, 1932-34 (with Larry Jones), and Before the Holocaust: Antisemitic Violence during the Nazi Takeover and the Reaction of German Elites and Institutions during the Nazi Takeover, published with Oxford University Press in the fall of 2022.  This book focuses on the surge in anti-Semitic violence in the late winter and spring of 1933 and the reaction of German society at a time when protest and resistance to Nazi measures was still possible.



1989Ph.D. European History, University of California, Los Angeles
1981M.Phil. History and Germanistik, Universität Freiburg
1981 Ancient and Modern History, Universität Freiburg
1977B.A. History & Germanistik, Universität Mannheim

Honors & Acknowledgements

College of Arts & Sciences Cooper Fellowship, 2014 – 2017
The University of Miami Excellence in Teaching Award, 1996

LIST OF SPECIALTIES: Germany (1648 to the present, especially Prussia and Nazi Germany); Modern Europe


Hermann Beck ""The Nazi ‘Seizure of Power"" The Oxford Illustrated History of the Third Reich , In Robert Gellately, ed., , Oxford University Press (2018) 51-84.

Hermann Beck "“The Anti-Bourgeois Character of National-Socialism”" Journal of Modern History , Vol. 83 (2016), 572-610.

Hermann Beck "“Antisemitische Gewalt während der Machtergreifungszeit und die Reaktion der deutschen Gesellschaft.”" Die “Reichskristallnacht” in Schleswig-Holstein. Der Novemberpogrom im historischen Kontext. , In Rainer Hering, ed., Hamburg University Press, (2016), 141-191.

Hermann Beck "Konflikte zwischen Deutschnationalen und Nationalsozialisten während der Machtergreifungs-zeit.”" Historische Zeitschrift , Vol. 292 (2011) 645-681.

Hermann Beck The Fateful Alliance: German Conservatives and Nazis in 1933: The Machtergreifung in a New Light (2008) [Link]

Hermann Beck "Between the Dictates of Conscience and Political Expediency: Hitler's Conservative Alliance Partner and Antisemitism during the Nazi Seizure of Power" Journal of Contemporary History , Vol. 41, No. 4, (2006) 611-640. [Link]

Hermann Beck "The Nazis and their Conservative Alliance Partner in 1933: The Seizure of Power in a New Light." Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions , Vol. 6 (2005), 215-243.

Hermann Beck "Josef Maria von Radowitz and the Implications of Nineteenth-Century German Social Thought " , In Larry E. Jones and James Retallack, eds, German History , Vol. 13 (1995), 163-182.

Hermann Beck "Die Rolle des Sozialkonservatismus in der preußisch-deutschen Geschichte als Forschungs-problem." Jahrbuch für die Geschichte Mittel- und Ostdeutschlands , Vol. 43 (1995), 59-92 .

Hermann Beck " Conservatives and the Social Question in Nineteenth-Century Prussia." Between Reform, Reaction, and Resistance: Studies in the History of German Conservatism from 1789 to 1945 , In Larry E. Jones and James Retallack, eds,, London and Providence, 61-95. (1993).

Hermann Beck The Origins of the Authoritarian Welfare State in Prussia: Conservatives, Bureaucracy, and the Social Question, 1815-1870 (University of Michigan Press. 1995).

Hermann Beck "The Social Policies of Prussian Officials: The Bureaucracy in a New Light." Journal of Modern History , Vol. 64 (1992), 263-298.

Hermann Beck "State and Society in Pre-March Prussia: The Weavers' Uprising, the Bureaucracy, and the Association for the Welfare of Workers." Central European History , Vol. 25 (1992), 303-332.