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Chris Clark (historian)

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Title: Chris Clark (historian)  
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Subject: Anglo-German naval arms race, International relations of the Great Powers (1814–1919), Australian honours system, Austria-Hungary, History of Europe
Collection: 1960 Births, 20Th-Century Australian Historians, 20Th-Century Biographers, 21St-Century Biographers, 21St-Century Historians, Alumni of Pembroke College, Cambridge, Australian Biographers, Australian Expatriates in the United Kingdom, Australian Historians, Australian Knights Bachelor, Expatriate Academics, Fellows of St Catharine's College, Cambridge, Free University of Berlin Alumni, Historians of Germany, Historians of Religion, Living People, Male Biographers, Members of the University of Cambridge Faculty of History, Officers Crosses of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, University of Sydney Alumni, World War I Historians
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Chris Clark (historian)

Chris Clark
Christopher Clark 2013
Born (1960-03-14) 14 March 1960
Nationality Australian
Alma mater
Thesis Jewish mission in the Christian state: Protestant missions to the Jews in 18th- and 19th-century Prussia (1991)
Notable awards Wolfson History Prize
Spouse Nina Lübbren (art historian)
Children Josef, Alexander
Cambridge Faculty of History page

Christopher Munro "Chris" Clark (born 14 March 1960) is an Australian historian working in England.


  • Education and academic promotions 1
  • Professional life 2
  • Personal 3
  • Awards 4
  • Publications 5
    • Books 5.1
    • Books edited 5.2
  • References 6

Education and academic promotions

He was educated at Sydney Grammar School between 1972 and 1978, the University of Sydney where he studied History, and between 1985 and 1987 the Freie Universität Berlin.

He received his PhD at the University of Cambridge, having been a member of Pembroke College, Cambridge from 1987 to 1991. He is Professor in Modern European History at the University of Cambridge and since 1991 has been a Fellow of St. Catharine's College.[2] where he is currently Director of Studies in History. In 2003 Clark was appointed University Lecturer in Modern European History, and in 2006 Reader in Modern European History. His Cambridge University professorship in history followed in 2008.[3] In September 2014, he succeeded Richard J. Evans as Regius Professor of History at Cambridge.

Professional life

As he acknowledges in the foreword to "Iron Kingdom",[4] living in West Berlin between 1985 and 1987, during what turned out to be almost the last years of the divided Germany, gave him an insight into German history and society.

Clark's academic focus starts with the History of Prussia, his earlier researches concentrating on Pietism and on Judaism in Prussia, as well as the power struggle, known as the Kulturkampf, between the Prussian state under Bismarck and the Catholic Church. From this his scope has broadened to embrace more generally the competitive relationships between religious institutions and the state in modern Europe. He is the author of a study of Christian-Jewish relations in Prussia (The Politics of Conversion. Missionary Protestantism and the Jews in Prussia, 1728–1941; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995).

Professor Clark's best-selling history of Prussia (Iron Kingdom. The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947; London: Penguin, 2006 won several prestigious prizes and its critical reception gave him a public profile that reached well beyond the academic world. The German language version of the book, entitled more prosaically "Preußen. Aufstieg und Niedergang 1600–1947", won for Clark the 2010 German Historians' Prize, an award normally given to historians nearing the ends of their careers. Clark remains (in 2014) the youngest ever recipient of this triennial prize, and the only one of the winners not to have approached his work as a mother-tongue German speaker. In 17 chapters covering 800 pages, Clark contends that Germany was "not the fulfillment of Prussia's destiny but its downfall".[5][6] Although the nineteenth century Kulturkampf was characterised by a peculiar intensity and radicalism, Clark's careful study of sources in several different European languages enables him to spell out just how closely the Prussian experience of church:state rivalry resembled events elsewhere in Europe. In this way the book powerfully rebuts the traditional Sonderweg bandwagon, whereby throughout the twentieth century mainstream historians have placed great emphasis on the "differentness" of Germany's historical path, before and during the nineteenth century. Clark downplays the perceived uniqueness of the much vaunted reform agenda pursued by Prussia between 1815 and 1848. He believes that the political and economic significance of the German customs union, established in 1834, came to be discovered and then overstated by historians only retrospectively, and in the light of much later political developments.

With his critical biography of the last German Kaiser (Kaiser Wilhelm II; Harlow: Longman, 2000, series "Profiles in Power"), Clark offers some persuasive correctives to many of the traditional positions presented in his own three volume biography of Willhelm by J. C. G. Röhl.

His latest book is a study of the outbreak of the First World War (The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914; London: Allen Lane, 2012).[7] He is also the co-editor with Wolfram Kaiser of a transnational study of secular-clerical conflict in nineteenth-century Europe (Culture Wars. Catholic-Secular Conflict in Nineteenth-Century Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), and the author of numerous articles and essays. Professor Clark presented the BBC Four documentary programme "Frederick the Great and the Enigma of Prussia", most recently broadcast 22 October 2011 (as of November 2013).[8]

Since 1998 Christopher Clark has been a series-editor of the scholarly book series New Studies in European History from Cambridge University Press.[9] He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities[1] and a prominent member of the Mannheim based )Prussian History Working GroupArbeitsgemeinschaft zur Preußischen Geschichte (.[10] Since 2009 has been a member of the Preußischen Historischen Kommission (Prussian Historical Commission), and since 2010 a senior advisory (non-voting) member of the London based German Historical Institute and of the Otto-von-Bismarck-Stiftung (Bismarck foundation) in Friedrichsruh.[9] 2010 was also the year in which Clark was elected a member of the British Academy.[9]


Clark is married to the art historian Nina Lübbren, like him a former student at the Freie Universität Berlin,[11] and to whom he dedicated "Iron Kingdom":[4] Lübbren warmly acknowledges his support and assistance in her own academic work.[12] They have two sons, Josef and Alexander.




  • Clark, Christopher M. (2012). The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914. London:  
  • Clark, Christopher M. (2006). Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947.   Published in Germany as Preußen: Aufstieg und Niedergang 1600–1947 by DVA, 2007
  • Clark, Christopher M.;  
  • Clark, Christopher M. (2000). Kaiser Wilhelm II.  
  • Clark, Christopher M. (1995). The Politics of Conversion: Missionary Protestantism and the Jews in Prussia, 1728–1941. Oxford Clarendon Press & New York: Oxford University Press.  

Books edited

  • Culture Wars: Secular–Catholic conflict in Nineteenth-Century Europe. (with Wolfram Kaiser) Cambridge University Press, 2003


  1. ^ a b c d e "Christopher M. Clark".   Biography in Context. (subscription required)
  2. ^ Faculty of History: Academic Staff: Further Details: Dr Christopher Clark, archived from the original on 19 July 2011, retrieved 30 November 2013 
  3. ^ "Christopher Clark's page on the Cambridge University website". Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Clark, Christopher M. (2006). Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947. Harvard University Press. pp. iii, iv, xi. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  5. ^ ..."nicht die Erfüllung Preußens, sondern sein Verderben"....
  6. ^ Christopher Clark: Preußen. Aufstieg und Niedergang. 1600–1947. 2007, S. 13.
  7. ^ "The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914"Deutschlandfunk Interview (originally published in 2013) by Thilo Kößler (b 1958) with Chris Clark about Clark's book . Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "BBC Four – Frederick the Great and the Enigma of Prussia". Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c "Christopher Clark's online résumé/cv which includes the dates of various awards and appointments.". Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  10. ^ Arbeitsgemeinschaft zur Preußischen Geschichte .... in Mannheim (in moderately simple German)."(membership of the)"Short biographical newspaper article on Clark evidencing his Mitgliedschaft der . Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Dr Nina Lübbren's page on the Cambridge University website". Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  12. ^ Nina Lübbren (2001). Rural artists' colonies in Europe, 1870–1910.  
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ Press Release (21 November 2013). "Ann Applebaum wins 2013 Cundill Prize". McGill University. Retrieved 24 December 2013. 
  15. ^ Carolyn Kellogg (11 April 2014). "Jacket Copy: The winners of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes are ...".  
  16. ^ Felicity Capon (8 April 2013). "Keith Lowe awarded the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize for history".  
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