Bernadotte Everly Schmitt

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Bernadotte Everly Schmitt
Born(1886-05-19)May 19, 1886
DiedMarch 23, 1969(1969-03-23) (aged 82)
Spouse(s)Damaris Kathryn Ames[1][2]

Bernadotte Everly Schmitt (May 19, 1886 – March 23, 1969) was a historian of Europe. He was professor of Modern European History at the University of Chicago from 1924 until 1946.[3]


Schmitt received his Master of Arts from the University of Oxford and his PhD from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[1] In 1916 he gained notice with England and Germany, 1740–1914. His book The Coming of the War, 1914 (published in 1930[4]) won him the 1930 George Louis Beer Prize of the American Historical Association[5] and the 1931 Pulitzer Prize for History.[1]

This work, for which he remains best known, took issue with the equally prominent study of the origins of the First World War published two years earlier by Sidney Fay (for which its author had also won a Beer Prize). In contrast to Fay's argument that Serbia and Russia were culpable, Schmitt insisted that Germany had indeed been largely responsible for the catastrophe. The debate between the "orthodox" school represented by Schmitt, Luigi Albertini and Pierre Renouvin, and the "revisionist" school of Fay, Harry Elmer Barnes and others that shifted blame from the Central Powers to the Allies, dominated scholarship on the "war-guilt" question until the publication of Fritz Fischer's Griff nach der Weltmacht (Germany's Aims in the First World War) (1961), which reopened the debate with a fresh approach by blaming Germany's prewar ambitions.[6]

Schmitt was the first editor of the Journal of Modern History, serving from 1929 to 1946.[1] In 1937 Schmitt published The Annexation of Bosnia, 1908–1909.[1][7]

In 1960, he was President of the American Historical Association.[1] He died in 1969.[8]

Bernadotte E. Schmitt Grants[edit]

The American Historical Association offers the Bernadotte E. Schmitt Grants to support research in the history of Europe, Africa, and Asia. The funds for this program come from the earnings of a bequest from Bernadotte E. Schmitt. These competitive annual grants are intended to further research in progress and may be used for travel to a library or archive, for microfilms, photographs, or photocopying.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Levens, R.G.C., ed. (1964). Merton College Register 1900–1964. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 50.
  2. ^ a b Finding Aid for Bernadotte E. Schmitt Papers, University of Tennessee Special Collections. Retrieved: 15 May 2013.
  3. ^ "Guide to the Bernadotte E. Schmitt Papers 1913–1961".
  4. ^ Full text Vol I and Vol II
  5. ^ "George Louis Beer Prize Recipients". American Historical Association. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
  6. ^ Novick, Peter. That Noble Dream: The Objectivity Question and the American Historical Profession (Cambridge University Press, 1988), pp. 206–222.
  7. ^ Schmitt, Bernadotte Everly (September 2, 1937). "The Annexation of Bosnia, 1908–1909, by Bernadotte E. Schmitt, ..." The University Press – via Google Books.
  8. ^ "Bernadotte E. Schmitt Is Dead. Historian Won Pulitzer Prize. Charged Germany With Guilt for World War I in 'The Coming of the War, 1914'". The New York Times. March 24, 1969. Retrieved 2008-07-17. Bernadotte E. Schmitt, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and authority on modern ... Dr. Schmitt was born in Strasburg, Va. ...
  9. ^ "Bernadotte E. Schmitt Grant for Research in European, African, or Asian History | AHA".

Further reading[edit]