Professor Benjamin Ziemann

M.A. (Freie Univ., Berlin), Ph.D. (Bielefeld), Habilitation (Bochum)

Department of History

Professor of Modern German History

Benjamin Ziemann
b.ziemann@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 22 22585

Full contact details

Professor Benjamin Ziemann
Department of History
3.14
Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
Sheffield
S3 7RA
Profile

I gained my PhD from the University of Bielefeld and joined the department in 2005. I have authored, edited and co-edited many books, articles and book chapters.

My articles appeared in leading peer-reviewed journals, including Journal of Contemporary History, Contemporary European History, Geschichte und Gesellschaft, German History, Central European History, Historische Zeitschrift and Archiv für Sozialgeschichte.

Parts of my research have been published in other languages than English or German, including French, Spanish, Japanese, Ukrainian, Russian and Serbian.

My research covers a broad range of topics in German history during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and in post-1945 Western European history.

I am one of the internationally leading experts on the history of the Weimar Republic and am currently editing, with Nadine Rossol, the Oxford Handbook of the Weimar Republic, a benchmark companion on the history of Germany’s first republic.

This collection of 32 essays will be published in 2021, with a parallel German edition appearing in the same year. 

My latest book is my major biography of Martin Niemöller (1892-1984), a navy officer during the First World War who became a Protestant pastor and figurehead of the Confessing Church during the Third Reich.

This book - published in the autumn of 2019 - offers the fully researched account of the turbulent life of Niemöller, including his eight years in Sachsenhausen and Dachau Concentration Camps as ‘Hitler’s Personal Prisoner’ from 1938 to 1945 and his tireless campaigning for peace and disarmament in the decades since 1945.

Through the prism of Niemöller’s life, the book offers a reflection on continuities in Germany’s twentieth century history and contested issues such as nationalism, religion, guilt and morality.

I have received numerous grants and fellowships, among others from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the British Academy, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Gerda Henkel Stiftung, the Volkswagen Foundation and the Ministry for Schools, Science and Research in North Rhine-Westphalia.

I have been a Visiting Professor at the University of Tübingen and a Visiting Scholar at Humboldt-University Berlin, at the University of York, the University of Bielefeld, at Kyoritsu Women’s University in Tokyo, and at the Forum for Contemporary History at the University of Oslo.

Research interests

I am currently writing a book on the social history of workers and of the labour movement in Germany during the First World War. for publication in a renowned handbook series on German labour history, published with J.H.W. Dietz publishers in Bonn. .

In these two podcasts, I talk about some of my recent research.

Watch: Violence and the German Solider in the Great War. Killing, Dying, Surviving (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017)

Watch: Understanding the Imaginary War. Culture, thought and nuclear conflict, 1945-90. (Manchester: Manchester UP, 2016)

Publications

Show: Featured publications All publications

Books

  • Ziemann B (2019) Martin Niemöller. Ein Leben in Opposition. München: Deutsche Verlagsanstalt. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ziemann B (2019) Violence and the German Soldier in the Great War. Killing, Dying, Surviving. London: Bloomsbury. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ziemann B (2014) Encounters with Modernity: The Catholic Church in West Germany, 1945-1975. Oxford: Berghahn. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ziemann B (2013) Contested Commemorations. Republican War Veterans and Weimar Political Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. RIS download Bibtex download

Edited books

  • Ziemann B & Dobson M (Ed.) (2020) Reading Primary Sources. The Interpretation of Texts from Nineteenth and Twentieth Century History. London: Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Grant M & Ziemann B (Ed.) (2016) Understanding the Imaginary War: Culture, Thought and Nuclear Conflict, 1945-90. Manchester: Manchester University Press. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ziemann B & Christophersen A (Ed.) () Martin Niemöller. Gedanken über den Weg der christlichen Kirche. Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles

  • Ziemann B (2020) Martin Niemöller and the history of anti-nuclear pacifism in the Federal Republic of Germany, 1950-1984. Hiroshima Peace Research Journal, 7, 117-131. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ziemann B (2018) Der Prozess gegen Martin Niemöller vor dem Berliner Sondergericht 1938. Zeitschrift fur Geschichtswissenschaft, 66(4), 299-317. RIS download Bibtex download

All publications

Books

Edited books

  • Ziemann B & Dobson M (Ed.) (2020) Reading Primary Sources. The Interpretation of Texts from Nineteenth and Twentieth Century History. London: Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Grant M & Ziemann B (Ed.) (2016) Understanding the Imaginary War: Culture, Thought and Nuclear Conflict, 1945-90. Manchester: Manchester University Press. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ziemann B & Christophersen A (Ed.) () Martin Niemöller. Gedanken über den Weg der christlichen Kirche. Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles

Chapters

  • Ziemann B (2020) Wanderer zwischen den Welten. Der Militärkritiker und Gegner des entschiedenen Pazifismus Major a.D. Karl Mayr (1883-1945) In Wette W (Ed.), Weiße Raben. Pazifistische Offiziere in Deutschland vor 1933 (pp. 303-319). Bremen: Donat Verlag. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ziemann B (2018) Ambivalente Männlichkeit. Geschlechterbilder und -praktiken in der kaiserlichen Marine am Beispiel von Martin Niemöller, 1914/18 – revisited (pp. 91-108). V&R unipress RIS download Bibtex download
  • Grant M & Ziemann B (2016) Introduction: The cold war as an imaginary war, Understanding the Imaginary War: Culture, Thought and Nuclear Conflict, 1945-90 (pp. 1-29). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ziemann B (2016) German angst? Debating Cold War anxieties in West Germany, 1945-90, Understanding the Imaginary War: Culture, Thought and Nuclear Conflict, 1945-90 (pp. 116-139). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ziemann B (2015) Militarism, The Ashgate Research Companion to Imperial Germany (pp. 367-382). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ziemann B (2014) “No more war!” Pacifist War Veterans in Germany, 1918-1923 In Valente I (Ed.), PELA PAZ! FOR PEACE! POUR LA PAIX ! (1849-1939) (pp. 377-389). Bruxelles. Bern. Berlin: Peter Lang Pub Incorporated. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ziemann B (2014) Der Schützengraben als Zone der Gewalt. Frontalltag im Ersten Weltkrieg, Zeitenwende. 100 Jahre Erster Weltkrieg (pp. 89-104). Mainz: Landeszentrale für politische Bildung rheinland-Pfalz. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ziemann B (2014) Agrarian society, The Cambridge History of the First World War (pp. 382-407). Cambridge University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ziemann B & Dols C (2012) Catholic Church Reform and Organizations Research in the Netherlands and Germany, 1945–1980, Engineering Society (pp. 293-312). Palgrave Macmillan UK RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ziemann B (2011) The impossible vanishing point: Societal differentiation in imperial Germany, Imperial Germany Revisited: Continuing Debates and New Perspectives (pp. 37-50). View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ziemann B (2011) Germany 1914-1918. Total War as a Catalyst of Change In Smith HW (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Modern German History Oxford: OUP. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ziemann B () The First World War and National Socialism, A Companion to Nazi Germany (pp. 47-61). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ziemann B & Dols C () Catholic Church Reform and Organizations Research in the Netherlands and Germany, 1945–1980, Engineering Society Palgrave Macmillan RIS download Bibtex download
  • Dobson M () Reading Primary Sources Routledge RIS download Bibtex download

Book reviews

Research group

Research supervision

I have supervised Brendan Murphy, who completed his PhD on Killing in the German Army: Organising and Surviving Combat in the Great War and 'Meryn McLaren, who completed her PhD on 'Refugee Camps in the Federal Republic, 1945-1960. Community Building and Integration' in 2009. Benjamin has also acted as external supervisor for Daniel Gerster, who gained his PhD from the European University Institute in Florence in 2011 with a book on changing Catholic discourses on war and peace in the Federal Republic.

All current students

Current students

  • Maria Neumann, Religion in Berlin during the Cold War (external supervisor, Humboldt University Berlin)
  • Andrea Schweizer, The Swiss Peace Movement during the 1970s and 1980s (external supervisor, University of Zurich)

PhD study in History

Teaching activities

Undergraduate

  • HST283 - Imperial Germany, 1871-1918
  • HST3071/2 - The Weimar Republic: Laboratory of Modernity

Postgraduate

  • HST6072 - Voices of the Great War: Gender, Experience and Violence  in Great Britain and Germany 1914-1918
  • HST6603 - Modernity and Power: Individuals & The State in the Modern World
Professional activities

From 2002 to 2012, I have served as a review editor for peace history and military history for   H-Soz-u-Kult, a part of H-Net. From 2011 to 2017, I was one of the editors of the Archiv für Sozialgeschichte.

I am currently serving as one of the editors of the Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft and on the editorial boards of the journals First World War Studies, the Swiss Journal for Religious and Cultural History (Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Religions und Kulturgeschichte) and the Spanish journal Revista Universitaria de Historia Militar.

Administrative roles

Within the department, I have served in various administrative roles, including Exams Officer.

Public engagement

Public engagement

I am a very experienced public speaker. Over the past 15 years, I have given numerous invited lectures and papers at universities in the UK, eleven other European countries, Japan and the USA.

I have also held many public lectures at various institutions in the UK, Germany and Norway. I am also giving talks to A-level and GSCE students at various schools.

In the media

My biography of Martin Niemöller, published in the autumn of 2019, has sparked extensive interest in the German media. Apart from various reviews in newspapers, I was interviewed for public broadcast radio, including a long interview with Deutschlandfunk, and a shorter one for rbb Kulturradio.

My book is also a crucial reference point in ongoing historical reflections on the course of German history during the Weimar Republic, for instance here.

I have intervened in the ensuing debates on Niemöller’s historical relevance myself, for instance in a widely debated article for the Protestant journal Zeitzeichen, and in a joint interview with the theologian Alf Christophersen, with whom I have edited a manuscript that Niemöller wrote while he was detained in the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp.

This interview was recorded for the science portal of the Gerda Henkel Foundation