Content Section

This article
This paper examines the reasons for the variable incidence and forms of historical sociology in several different historical periods, with a focus on Germany and the United States, and the flows of social scientists between those two countries due to forced exile from Nazi Germany, American military occupation after 1945, and the voluntary exchange of academics. Historical sociology was one of the main poles of German sociology before 1933, whereas it had only a handful of proponents in the United States at that time. After 1933 the majority of German historical sociologists went into exile, most of them to the United States. In West Germany historical sociology failed to survive the Nazi period. Several leading Weimar-era historical sociologists had stayed in Germany but were unable to reestablish their prominence. The handful of exiled historical sociologists who returned to Germany after 1945 were marginalized, stopped working historically, or moved into other disciplines like Political Science. The explanation of these trends has to be multicausal and conjunctural.