Fritz Fischer, 1908–99, German historian. Appointed professor at the Univ. of Hamburg in 1948 (emeritus after 1973), he became famous as the result of his book Griff nach der Weltmacht (1961; tr. Germany's Aims in the First World War, 1967). His controversial thesis held that Germany's bid for world power before and during World War I was the main cause of the conflict in 1914. Fischer's unflattering picture of imperial Germany led to sharp criticism by German conservatives. In 1969 he published Krieg der Illusionen, a reinforcement of his earlier work that covered in greater detail the period before 1914.
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