PhD My doctoral research aims at a complete empirical analysis of the ministerial activity of Wilhelm Frick, Thuringia's Nazi Interior and Education Minister, 1930 to 1931. Frick was the first Nazi to become a government minister, a full three years before Hitler became Chancellor. On the basis of a letter written by Hitler shortly after Frick came to power it is commonly believed that Hitler saw Frick's period in office as a model for future Nazi government activity, and (in retrospect) that it actually constituted a 'dress rehearsal' for the Nazi Party's 'seizure of power' in Germany between 1933 and 1934. The interpretative framework of my research focuses upon the significance of Frick's measures and behaviour in office as a means of validating, modifying, or refuting these commonly held beliefs.
The main areas of my investigation are: the origins, drafting, and implementation of Frick's measures within the Interior and Education Ministries; Frick's impact upon Thuringia's civil service and administration; the nature of Frick's relationship with his coalition partners; the perception of him by the opposition parties; and his relationship with, and portrayal by, the Nazi Party in Thuringia and Germany. The background to the thesis is the political, social, cultural and economic collapse of the Weimar Republic and the backlash of the right in Germany, principally the rise of the Nazi Party, at the end of the 1920s and the early 1930s.
I have presented papers on my thesis to the St. John's Postgraduate Group, University of St. Andrews, November 1997, and to the German Historical Institute's Postgraduate Conference, 8-9 January 1998.
ARCHIVES I have visited a number of archives and libraries, both in the UK and in Germany:
I also purchased microfilm records from the National Archives in Washington D.C., United States.
RESEARCH AWARDS My Ph.D. was funded by the School of History, University of St. Andrews. In addition, I have won a three month research studentship award from the German Historical Institute for archival research in Germany, and further discretionary awards from the University of St. Andrews. I was also shortlisted for a Leverhulme Trust 12 month 'Study Abroad Studentship'.
PUBLICATIONS I intend publishing my research as a book, and I am drafting overview and detailed articles on my research for submission to UK jounals, such as Journal of Contemporary History, European History Quarterly, or German History. I would also like to publish in German, ideally in Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte.
At present, whilst engaged in the final draft of my thesis, I am eviewing the following for European Review of History - Revue européenne d'Histoire: M. Housden, Resistance and Conformity in the Third Reich (Routledge: London, 1997); A. Nekrich, Pariahs, Partners, Predators: German-Soviet Relations, 1922-1941 (Columbia University Press: New York, 1997); A. D. Low, The Men Around Hitler: The Nazi Elite and Its Collaborators (Columbia University Press: New York, 1997); I. Geiss, The Question of German Unification, 1806-1996 (Routledge: London, 1997)
MA I took the MA in Historical Research at the University of Lancaster since it was one of only a few universities in the UK which then ran a history MA course that formally taught research techniques. The course demanded that the student applied these research skills to writing a 25,000 word primary source based research dissertation, which constituted 50% of the final mark for the MA.
For my dissertation I investigated the attitude of British government and military towards intelligence on the Luftwaffe, 1933-1939. I was principally interested in how the material was handled, through which preconceptions, prejudices and biases the intelligence reports were filtered, and the impact on British policy. I undertook this research project, initially from my own interest in military and diplomatic history, airpower, and intelligence, but primarily because its emphasis on how others handled source materials (intelligence reports) offered an excellent opportunity for me to demonstrate the methodological and critical skills that I had acquired on the MA course.