German History in Documents and Images (GHDI)

German History in Documents and Images (GHDI) is a comprehensive collection of primary source materials documenting Germany's political, social, and cultural history from 1500 to the present. It comprises original German texts, all of which are accompanied by English translations, as well as a wide range of visual imagery. Source materials are presented in ten volumes, each of which was compiled by a leading historian or team thereof. All of the materials can be downloaded free of charge for research, academic teaching, and related purposes; the site is strictly intended for individual, non-commercial use.

As a bilingual website published by a German institution in Washington, GHDI bridges academic cultures and serves diverse audiences. In 2010, the website was awarded the AHA’s James Harvey Robinson Award. Three years later, it was the subject of an article in Central European History entitled “Digital Historical Anthologies on the Web: German History in Documents and Images.”

First launched in 2003, GHDI was declared officially complete in 2012. The original website was made possible by the generous support of the Max Kade Foundation and the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius. The original GHDI was undertaken in cooperation with the Friends of the German Historical Institute and the Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz (bpk-Bildagentur).

In 2017, the GHI was awarded a generous three-year grant from the German Research Foundation [Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft or DFG] for the reconceptualization, expansion, and modernization of GHDI. Awarded through the DFG’s “Infrastructure for Electronic Publications and Digital Science Communication” program, the grant will bring the site up to date in terms of technology as well as historiography and methodology. At the core of the technical work program is the development of a new open-source platform based on an eXist database and a Scalar 2.0 presentation layer. Among other benefits, the new platform will accommodate the types of materials (e.g., multimedia sources) called for in current historical scholarship and lay the foundation for new ways of navigating the website’s 4,000-plus textual and visual sources.

Although hundreds of new primary sources will be added to the site over the course of the relaunch, the changes will be more than additive. One leading editorial objective, for instance, is to recast GHDI in light of the transnational and global turns in history, with the goal being to introduce users to a more complex and outward-looking Germany. In 2017, the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius reaffirmed its commitment to GHDI with a new grant in support of content-related expansions and revisions. 

GHDI Editorial Board (2017)

  1. From the Reformation to the Thirty Years’ War, 1500-1648
    Greta Kroeker (University of Waterloo)

  2. From Absolutism to Napoleon, 1648-1815
    Jason Coy (College of Charleston) Jared Poley (Georgia State University)

  3. From Vormärz to Prussian Dominance, 1815-1866 
    Brian Vick (Emory University)

  4. Forging an Empire: Bismarckian Germany, 1866-1890 
    James Retallack (University of Toronto)

  5. Wilhelmine Germany and the First World War, 1890-1918 
    David Ciarlo (University of Colorado at Boulder)

  6. Weimar Germany 1918/19-1933

    Erik Jensen (Miami University of Ohio)

  7. Nazi Germany, 1933-1945

    S. Jonathan Wiesen (University of Alabama at Birmingham)
    Pamela Swett (McMaster University)

  8. Occupation and the Emergence of Two States, 1945-1961
    Volker Berghahn (Columbia University)

    Uta Poiger (Northeastern University)

  9. Two Germanies, 1961-1989

    Konrad Jarausch (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
    Helga Welsh (Wake Forest University)

  10. One Germany in Europe, 1989-2015
    Konrad Jarausch (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
    Helga Welsh (Wake Forest University)