Jan Vermeiren

Jan Vermeiren


  • 3.06 Arts

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Personal profile


Jan Vermeiren studied Modern History, Politics, and German Literature at Humboldt University of Berlin, the Free University of Berlin, and University College London (UCL), followed by a PhD at the UCL Centre for European Studies. He has taught at UCL and the University of Essex, and guest lectured at the Universities of Salzburg, Venice, and Leuven. Vermeiren has held various awards, including a Marie Curie Doctoral Fellowship, scholarships from the DAAD and the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, and a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award.

Dr Vermeiren is Director of the Institute for the Study of Ideas of Europe, which hosts an international research network and runs the International Encyclopaedia of Ideas of Europe, a peer-reviewed online resource (www.ideasofeurope.org). He is co-editor of History: The Journal of the Historical Association, Ideas beyond Borders: Studies in Transnational Intellectual History (Routledge), and History and Ideas: New Perspectives in European Studies (De Gruyter).

Dr Vermeiren's first book is entitled The First World War and German National Identity: The Dual Alliance at War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016). It investigates the essence and intensity of the spirit of solidarity between the German Reich and the Habsburg Monarchy, often described in terms of 'Nibelungentreue', and examines the extent to which the war coalition led to a re-evaluation of the 'kleindeutsch' paradigm in Imperial Germany and more openness to different conceptions of the German nation. Reviews in The American Historical Review, The Journal of Modern History, European History QuarterlyCentral European History, Austrian StudiesHungarian Historical Review, Střed/Centre, H-Nationalism, and H-War.


'The First World War', in Cambridge Handbook on the History of Nationhood and Nationalism, ed. by Cathie Carmichael, Matthew D'Auria, and Aviel Roshwald (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022).

with Mark Hewitson (eds.), Europe and the East: Self and Other in the History of the European Idea (London: Routledge, 2022).

with Matthew D'Auria and Rolf Petri (eds.), Waging War and Making Peace: European Ways of Inciting and Containing Armed Conflict from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Century (in preparation).

Key Research Interests

Dr Vermeiren’s research interests cover a number of areas in German and European history in the 19th and 20th centuries. He is particularly interested in the history of German nationalism and geopolitical thought, the First World War, the Habsburg Monarchy, and questions of European integration.

Book Reviews

Zabecki, David T., et al. (eds.), Germany at War: 400 Years of Military History, 4 vols (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2014), European History Quarterly, 46/1 (2016), 199-201.

Rathkolb, Oliver, The Paradoxical Republic: Austria 1945-2005 (New York: Berghahn, 2010), European History Quarterly, 43/1 (2013), 176-78.

Fellner, Fritz, and Corradini, Doris A. (eds.), Schicksalsjahre Österreichs. Die Erinnerungen und Tagebücher Josef Redlichs 1869-1936, 3 vols. (Vienna: Böhlau, 2011), Mitteilungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung, 121/2 (2013), 153-55.

Liulevicius, Vejas Gabriel, The German Myth of the East: 1800 to the Present (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), European History Quarterly, 41/2 (2011), 343-44.

Winter, Jay and Robert, Jean-Louis (eds.), Capital Cities at War: Paris, London, Berlin 1914-1919, 2 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997-2007), vol. II: A Cultural History (2007), H-German (February 2009).

Cole, Laurence and Unowsky, Daniel L. (eds.), The Limits of Loyalty: Imperial Symbolism, Popular Allegiances, and State Patriotism in the Late Habsburg Monarchy (New York: Berghahn, 2007), Das Historisch-Politische Buch, 56/2 (2008), 162-63.

Ehrenpreis, Petronilla, Kriegs- und Friedensziele im Diskurs. Regierung und deutschsprachige Öffentlichkeit Österreich-Ungarns während des Ersten Weltkriegs (Innsbruck: Studienverlag, 2005), H-Soz-u-Kult and Historische Literatur, 4 (2006), 172-74.

Other Publications

Vermeiren, Jan, 'Benjamin Ursinus v. Bär' and 'Bernhard Sanden d. Ä.', in F. Windt et al. (eds.), Preußen 1701 – eine europäische Geschichte, 2 vols. (Berlin: Hentschel, 2001), vol. II., 139-40.

Vermeiren, Jan, Der “Hitler-Putsch” 1923, Shoa.de – Zukunft braucht Erinnerung (2000).

Conference Papers (Selection)

07/2019 'Schlachtenmythen des Ersten Weltkrieges im Vergleich', Colloquium Lehrstuhl für Europäische Geschichte (19. und 20. Jahrhundert), Universität Regensburg

06/2019 'Britain and Europe in Historical Perspective: Some Reflections on Brexit', Valedictory Seminar for Michael Wintle, University of Amsterdam

12/2018 'Visions of a New Europe', 1918 and its Legacy: In the Shadow of Empire and War, Midlands Network: Central and Eastern European History, German and Russian Studies, University of Nottingham

11/2016 'Deutschland und der Zusammenbruch der Habsburgermonarchie. Eine Neubewertung des Zweibundes im Ersten Weltkrieg', Österreich-Ungarn und die imperialen Herausforderungen im 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert: Nationalismen und Rivalitäten im Habsburgerreich, in Europa und in der Welt, German Historical Institute Warsaw

09/2016 'The Politics of Alliance Making and Alliance Breaking: The Central Powers and the Romanian Question, 1914-1916', The Romanian Campaign 1916/17: Experience and Memory, University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

06/2016 'Notions of Solidarity and Integration in Times of War: The Idea of Europe, 1914-1918', The Bonds That Unite? Historical Perspectives on European Solidarity, University of Augsburg

06/2016 '"Ankläger des imperialistischen Krieges" und "führender Repräsentant der sozialistischen Literatur der DDR": Ein Beitrag zur Rezeptionsgeschichte Ludwig Renns nach 1945', Das rote Erbe der Front. Der Erste Weltkrieg in der DDR, European University Viadrina (Frankfurt/Oder) and Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin

02/2016 'The Tannenberg Myth in History and Literature, 1914-1945', Narratives of War, Huizinga Institute, Amsterdam

11/2015 'Habsburg Collapse and German Responsibility: A Re-Assessment of the Dual Alliance at War', Unknown Fronts: The Eastern Turn in First World War History, University of Groningen

04/2015 'German-Slav Relations in World War One - A Re-Assessment', Alternative Spaces of European Identity, University of Bristol

12/2014 'Die Mittelmächte: Deutschland und Österreich-Ungarn im Ersten Weltkrieg', Der Erste Weltkrieg: Österreich-Ungarn im europäischen Kontext (Lecture Series), University of Salzburg.

08/2014 'The Great War and the Idea of Europe' (joint paper with Matthew D'Auria), World War One International Conference: Perspectives on the 'Great' War, Queen Mary, University of London.

07/2014 'The European Idea on the Eve of World War One: Continuities and Discontinuities', The Great War and the Idea of Europe, University College London in collaboration with UEA.

03/2014 'The Dual Alliance at War and German National Identity', Research Seminar Political History, University of Utrecht.

12/2013 'Technology and Warfare', The Violence of War: Combatants' Experiences of Conflict, 1853-1918, University College London.

Teaching Interests

Dr Vermeiren has extensive teaching experience at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He has offered more than thirty different modules, mainly in modern German and European history, but also in art history, historical theory, political and social thought, and contemporary European politics. He holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice (PGCERT) and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Vermeiren was twice shortlisted for a UEA Teaching Award (in 2014 and 2015).

Teaching Activities

Level 4:

  • Introduction to Modern History
  • The Age of Extremes: Europe 1918 to 2001

Level 5:

  • Modern Germany, 1914-1990

Level 6:

  • The First World War: A New History
  • The Third Reich


  • Nationalism and Violence in the Twentieth Century
  • Historical Research Skills
  • The 'Golden Twenties': Weimar Culture and the Spirit of Modernity (Specialist Tutorial)
  • Battle Myths of the First World War (Specialist Tutorial)

Recent Supervision (Selection)

Undergraduate Dissertations

  • Identities and Loyalties in the Napoleonic Rhineland, 1799-1814
  • The Formation and Consolidation of the Nation-State: Italy and Germany in Comparison
  • The German Campaigns against France in 1870 and 1914
  • The Crisis of Masculinity in the Weimar Republic
  • The Origins and Evolution of Nazi Architecture
  • Nazi Perceptions of Britain and the British, 1920-39
  • Medical Experiments in Nazi Germany
  • Gestapo and NKVD: A Comparison
  • The Battle of the Atlantic: The Cooperation between Luftwaffe and Submarine Force
  • The German Occupation of the Channel Islands
  • The Nazi Occupation of Denmark and Norway
  • The Role of Women in the French Resistance
  • The War Crimes of the Wehrmacht in the European East
  • The Grey Eminence: Martin Bormann’s Role in the Third Reich
  • Victor Klemperer's Diaries and the Social Death of Germany's Jews, 1933-39
  • The Family in the Holocaust: A Study of Family Life in Nazi Ghettos and Camps
  • Conceptual and Methodological Problems of Holocaust Testimonies
  • The Occupation of Post-War Germany and the Origins of the Franco-German Friendship, 1945-49
  • The Prague Spring and the Velvet Revolution: A Comparison

MA Theses

  • Propaganda, Art and Symbolism in World War One
  • Anglo-French Relations in World War One
  • Nazi Germanisation Policies in the Annexed Eastern Territories
  • Mobilisation Strategies of the Red Army Faction and the Red Brigades
  • The Populist Vision of Contemporary Democracy: A Cross-European Examination
  • The Ideological Development of the NPD from 1996 to 2011
  • Finality Debate and Flexible Integration: Opt-Outs in European Law
  • Assessing Europeanness: The EU and Cyprus as a Frozen Conflict
  • Effects of EU Conditionality: The Roma Minority in Bulgaria
  • The 2009 European Elections in the Portuguese Press
  • Multiculturalism in United Germany, 1990-2013

PhD Topics

  • Friedrich Ferdinand von Beust - A Political Biography
  • Italian Liberalism and the Contradictions of the Penal System, 1887-1911
  • German-Hungarian Relations, 1906-1914
  • British Germanophobia and the First World War, 1914-1918
  • Civil Resistance in Poland during the Summer of 1980 in its Domestic and International Context
  • 'Westalgie' and the Legacies of the Bonn Republic

Administrative Posts

  • Until recently, Dr Vermeiren was Director of Postgraduate Taught Studies in the School of History. He was a member of the HIS Executive Team, the HIS Teaching Committee, the HIS Scholarships Panel (PGT), and the Faculty of the Arts and Humanities Admissions, Recruitment and Marketing Executive.
  • He has also served as an external programme evaluator at the University of Leuven and as an external examiner at Northumbria University and the Universities of Essex, Suffolk, and Sheffield Hallam.

Areas of Expertise

German history and politics, European history, the First World War, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the German Democratic Republic, nationalism, European integration and European identity

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions