Conspiracies and conspiracy theories in modern history

Ústav světových dějin Vás zve na přednášku prof. Hermanna Hieryho (Universität Bayreuth) s názvem „Conspiracies and conspiracy theories in modern history“, kterou prosloví dne 17. dubna 2018 od 12,30 hod. v místnosti č. 301 (Palachovo náměstí).

Whenever political and historical developments lead to results which are not easily understood or accepted, they give rise to conspiracy theories. The fear of being the victim to a conspiracy is indicative of a society which is in itself on the brink of collapse, stumbles into or already is in war or civil war. In this way, conspiracy theories might be understood as a manifestation of fundamental distrust – towards certain people, in particular people in charge of others, and what they present as „truth“, sanction as explanations or present as „solutions“. The more conspiracy theories abound, the less trust exists. While the mere existence of conspiracy theories does not prove the factual reality of such a conspiracy, there do exist quite a number of undeniable conspiracies in history. Conspiracies have always been part of politics and thus of history. And as secrecy is a first essential for any conspiracy, this makes it difficult to uncover and grasp the full historical truth. Nevertheless there exist a number of cases in modern history where historians have succeeded in detecting conspiracies.
This paper presents several conspiracies which have been researched by historians. Its major focus is on World War I, its origin, course of action, and result. Recent research was able to solve some old historical mysteries, and uncover historical plots. While we may not yet know all the relevant details in these cases, historians certainly have gained a much fuller insight in what really did happen and how and why it came about. Surprisingly, most of the historical research presented here is not very well known even to general historians. Assertions and interpretations which have been generally taken for granted in the past, are increasingly questioned.


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