Margaret L. Anderson
Berlin Prize Fellow - Class of Spring 2001
Professor of History, University of California at Berkeley
She received a Bachelors Degree in History from Swarthmore College and completed her Ph.D. in this subject at Brown University. Prior to going to Berkeley in 1990, she taught at Swarthmore College. Her publications include Windhorst: Zentrumspolitiker und Gegenspieler Bismarcks and Practicing Democracy: Elections and Political Culture in Imperial Germany.
American Academy Project
His Brother's Keeper: Dr. Lepsius and the Armenian Massacres
While in Berlin, Anderson will be working on the project His Brother's Keeper: Dr. Lepsius and the Armenian Massacres. After writing two books and a number of articles on the political history of imperial Germany (Kulturkampf, democratic elections, and political culture inside and outside the Reichstag), Anderson was searching for a new theme.
Quite by accident, a friend lent her The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, Franz Werfel's celebrated novel on the destruction of the Armenians during the first World War. Anderson became intrigued by the sole German to appear in the story, Dr. Johannes Lepsius, a Protestant pastor who pleads with Enver Pasha, Minister of War for Germany's Ottoman allies, for the lives of the Armenian minority. Realizing that Lepsius, later one of the three editors of the mammoth, forty-volume documentation of pre-war German Foreign Policy, Die Grosse Politik der europäischen Kabinette 1871-1914, was a real person, she decided to look into his efforts on behalf of the Armenians, which began in the mid-1890's.
Berlin has probably the world's largest collection of documents on the Armenian question -- and Germany's tangled role in it -- available today: in the archives of the Auswärtigen Amt, the Geheimes Staatsarchiv des Preußischen Kulturbesitz and the archives of the Evangelische Kirche. In addition, Berlin is within easy commuting distance of the University of Halle, where the Johannes-Lepsius-Archive is housed. The story, in which the history of the early human rights movement is entangled with issues of imperialism and de-colonialization, is by no means a simple one. Nonetheless, Anderson has been delighted by the interest and colleagial cooperation she has encountered among German scholars and positive response her topic continues to receive.
Photo: © 2001 Mike Minehan