200th Anniversary Birkbeck Effects: Richard Evans, professor of British history

Richard Evans’ seminal work is his three-volume The Third Reich trilogy, documenting the rise and fall of Hitler’s regime in comprehensive detail. He was professor and head of department during his time at Birkbeck, before briefly stepping into the role of Acting Master during Tessa Blackstone’s appointment to Tony Blair’s government. He returned to Birkbeck in 2018 as Visiting Professor. 

Evans was educated at Oxford University, where he honed his historical acumen and became a proponent of social history as opposed to a follower of the “great man theory of history”. This led to his characteristic approach to social historical analysis focusing on modern German and European history, which transformed the study of the discipline during his lifetime. His interests have ranged from studies of German criminals, transferable diseases, capital punishment, the psychology of mobs, and witchcraft.  

Evans’ testimony was vital in Deborah Lipstadt’s defence against libel claims brought by David Irving who she said had falsified and mishandled historical evidence to exonerate Hitler. She was found innocent based on the evidence Evans brought to uphold her statements.  


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