Robert Davidsohn

Wartime Memories

The Wartime Memories of the journalist and historian Robert Davidsohn (1853‒1937), well-known for his monumental History of Florence in 4 volumes, constitute a multi-faceted report on the First World War. The diary-like entries were written between December 1914 and January 1919, while Robert Davidsohn and his wife were living in Munch following the outbreak of the war and where they stayed until it ended.

First and foremost, the wartime journal must be considered a political journal. Despite his strong patriotism, Davidsohn tried to maintain a critical view and included a great variety of German and foreign sources in his report. He earnestly considered the military situation as well as the political and social questions of the time, and so the journal provides the reader with an exemplary insight into the changing mind of the German educated and upper-middle class in times of war. As a result of Davidsohn's deep personal relationship with Italy, the Wartime Memories represent an impressive reflection on German-Italian relations in a rare style. Moreover, the journal, written from the peculiar point of view of a private German-Jewish scholar mostly living abroad, records everyday life in Munich during the war and the increasing gravity of the political and social crisis in Germany until the outbreak of the revolution in November 1918. 

The manuscript of the Wartime Memories is kept in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek – Bavarian State Library in Munich. The online edition was created in close collaboration with the preparation of Robert Davidsohn's autobiography "Menschen die ich kannte", which will be published by the Historical Commission of the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften in Munich. Planning for a joint online publication of both documents by the German Historical Institute in Rome is underway.

[Online access in preparation]