Mosse, George L.

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MOSSE, GEORGE L.

MOSSE, GEORGE L. (1918–1999), U.S. historian; grandson of Rudolph *Mosse. Born in Berlin into one of Germany's wealthiest publishing families, Mosse and his family fled to Britain in 1933; in 1936 Mosse moved to the United States. He received a B.S. from Haverford College in 1941 and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1946. In 1944 he joined the Army Specialized Training Program at the University of Iowa, where he lectured for soldiers who were scheduled to take part in the postwar U.S. occupation of Europe. In 1945 he became a member of the history faculty and was assigned to a newly established course on the history of Western civilization. He helped to develop the curriculum for the program as well as to implement it at other universities.

In 1955 Mosse became associate professor of European history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was recruited to build up the European history program. He served on the faculty until his retirement in 1988. He also taught at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem from 1969 to 1985 and held the Koebner Chair from 1978 to 1985. In 1994 he was the first Shapiro Senior Scholar in Residence at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, d.c.

Mosse was president of the American Society for Reformation Research (1961–62) and was a founding editor with Walter Lacquer of the Journal of Contemporary History.

Mosse's principal interests were in 16th-century history, cultural history, and modern Germany, with special reference to the Nazis and antisemitism. His books The Reformation (1963) and Europe in the Sixteenth Century (with H.G. Koenigsberger, 1968) were important contributions to early modern history, while a series of later works – The Crisis of German Ideology (ed., 1964), Nazi Culture (1966), and Germans and Jews (1968) – explored modern Germany, particularly the fate of German Jewry. To this latter subject he brought his expert knowledge of more than four centuries of German history and a close familiarity with the development of European culture, a subject on which he also wrote in The Culture of Western Europe (1961).

After the unification of Germany in 1990, Mosse succeeded in reclaiming much of the family fortune that had been confiscated by the Nazis and the Communists. He bequeathed a large part of his estate to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and The Hebrew University to sponsor history scholarships.

Other books by Mosse include Toward the Final Solution (1978), International Fascism (1979), Masses and Man (1980), German Jews beyond Judaism (1985), Nationalism and Sexuality (1985), Confronting the Nation (1993), and The Image of Man: The Creation of Modern Masculinity (1996). His autobiography, Confronting History, was published in 2000.

add. bibliography:

S. Drescher, A. Sharlin, and D. Sabean (eds.), Political Symbolism in Modern Europe: Essays in Honor of George L. Mosse (1982).

[Theodore K. Rabb /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

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