Stern, Fritz Richard

Stern, Fritz Richard, 1926–2016, American historian and educator, b. Breslau, Germany (now Wrocław, Poland), grad. Columbia (B.A., 1946; M.A., 1948; Ph.D., 1953). Although his family had converted from Judaism to Lutheranism in the 19th cent., they were a target of Nazi anti-Semitism and immigrated to New York City in 1938. Stern's historical research concentrated on the relationship between Germany and its Jewish population in the late 19th cent. and early 20th cent., and on the political and intellectual aspects of German society that led to the rise of National Socialism (Nazism) and to the Holocaust. His works include The Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of the Germanic Ideology (1961), his first book, The Failure of Illiberalism (1972), Gold and Iron: Bismarck, Bleichröder and the Building of the German Empire (1977), Dreams and Delusions: The Drama of German History (1987), and Einstein's German World (1999). Stern taught at Cornell in the early 1950s, but spent nearly all his academic career at Columbia, becoming (1963) a full professor, Seth Low professor of history (1967), and university professor (1992) before retiring in 1996. He was Columbia's provost from 1980 from 1983, and also was an adviser to politicians and diplomats in Germany and the United States.

See his memoir Five Germanys I Have Known (2006).

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