The German Historical Institute London (GHIL) is an independent academic institution dedicated to the promotion of historical research in Britain and Germany. It focuses on the comparative history of Germany and Britain, on the history of the British Empire and Commonwealth and on Anglo-German political, intellectual and cultural relations and transfers. It is part of the Max Weber Foundation. Its task is to represent German history studies in Great Britain and to make contributions towards the researching of British history from mediaeval times through to the present day. In addition the Institute brings to the discussion in Britain the latest topics and trends from German research, promotes contacts between German and British researchers and encourages European comparative studies.
The research profile of the Institute itself is under its statutes however primarily aimed at British history. Whereas British research into German history has been mainly dominated by topics such as the First World War and the period of National Socialism, the history of the Federal Republic has so far remained largely disregarded.
For this reason, in 2008 the Gerda Henkel Foundation provided the German Historical Institute London with funds to establish a Visiting Professorship (Gerda Henkel Visiting Professorship) for the topic area of German history from 1890 to the present day. The aim is to promote modern German historical research within the European context. The professorship at the German Historical Institute is linked to a Visiting Professorship at the International History Department of the London School of Economics and Political Science and requires the holding of a seminar on modern German history as part of the MA course at the University.
The Visiting Professor is supported by funding from the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the German Historical Institute London and the London School of Economics and Political Science. By bearing the costs of a professorship, exceptionally qualified historians who teach and study in the field of modern history at German universities have the opportunity to undertake a major research project over the period of the grant.