German Military Intelligence from Bismarck to the Present. 17th Annual Conference of the International Intelligence History Association (IIHA/AGN)

German Military Intelligence from Bismarck to the Present. 17th Annual Conference of the International Intelligence History Association (IIHA/AGN)

International Intelligence History Association; Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt Potsdam
Philipps-Universität Marburg
Vom - Bis
17.06.2011 - 19.06.2011
Dr. Markus Pöhlmann (MGFA, Potsdam)

The International Intelligence History Association will be conducting its 17th annual conference in Marburg, Germany, on 17-19 June 2011. The conference is organized jointly with the Bundeswehr’s Military History Research Institute (Militaergeschichtliches Forschungsamt, MGFA).

The theme of our conference will be the history of German military intelligence in a wider international, institutional and political context. The international context is particularly needed to explain how intelligence was used before and during the two World Wars but also during and since the Cold War. The institutional relationships not only concern the armed forces but also those other institutions which were involved in the making of German foreign and military policy. Studies on counter-intelligence relate to domestic intelligence and to law enforcement. In West Germany and, since 1990, in united Germany military intelligence is largely fused with foreign intelligence. Obviously the political framework changed dramatically several times over, which is why ideology and the complex semi-state networks of Nazi power holders played a special role between 1933 and 1945. In communist East Germany military intelligence competed with various more ideologically oriented “armed forces” and security services. This said, however, there is a specific “craft” of military intelligence marked by certain traditions as well as by the need to adapt to rapid changes in technology. For all those reasons the history of German military intelligence reaches very far beyond its institutions and the sometimes narrow concerns of specialists.

The state of historical research is characterized by large gaps both with regard to sources and to important studies. The military staff records for World War I were destroyed for the most part. For other periods sources are patchy. For the period after 1945 archival access is still heavily restricted (except for East Germany) but rapidly improving. But the difficulties with German source materials are an insufficient explanation for the gaps in historical research. Most German scholars of military and diplomatic history have been reluctant to take intelligence into account while non-Germans have often led the way to a more comprehensive perspective. The wider historical community has yet to appreciate the benefits of intelligence history in many fields, especially in writing the history of war and conflict. This conference aims at filling some of those gaps.

For our conference we are seeking paper proposals on all related topics, though special consideration will be given to archival-based studies, to international approaches and to studies on hitherto neglected subjects. Please e-mail your paper proposal (with a brief bio) to Professor Wolfgang Krieger ( and to Oberst i.G. Dr. Winfried Heinemann ( The deadline for submissions is 31 March 2011.

Partial travel subsidies may be available for speakers, especially those coming from abroad. Paper proposals are welcomed from established researchers, former practitioners and young scholars. Conference language are German and English. For details on the conference preparations please consult our website frequently ( We hope to see you at the 2011 Annual Conference.

IIHA/AGN Executive Board:




Professor Dr. Wolfgang Krieger

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Englisch, Deutsch
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