Welcome at World Historians.com

This is a website on the history of the writing of world history. The history of the world has been written and rewritten in many different shapes and forms, which hugely vary between different periods, cultures, and authors. This website explores the manifold approaches to the writing of world history and seeks the historical roots of these diverse perspectives of world history.

I. The Rise of ‘Small History’

1. Divine universal histories

2. Concepts of progress and widening horizons

3. Cosmopolitanism and nationalism

4. Prussian reform and Leopold von Ranke

5. The nationalization of history

6. The spread of the Prussian model

7. Alternatives and opposition to the Prussian model

8. The end of general history in the United States

II. World Histories of the Interwar Period

1. Paving the way for world history in France

2. Oswald Spengler’s “Der Untergang des Abendlandes”

3. H.G. Wells’ “The Outline of History”

4. Hendrik Willem van Loon’s “The Story of Mankind”

5. Arnold Toynbee’s “A Study of History”

III. From 1945: World History in a New Era of War and Peace

This website is very much a work in progress. As it stands, the part on the history of world history does barely go into works from after 1945. Another prominent omission is the absence of discussions about non-Western historiography. In its current form the history of world history on this website almost solely considers works and authors from what Eckhardt Fuchs refers to as “the four historiographical centers of the West”, which are Germany, France, Great Britain, and the United States.[1] As work on this website proceeds, I strive to correct this imbalance and compose an account with a broader temporal, geographical, and cultural scope.


[1] Eckhardt Fuchs, ‘Conceptions of Scientific History in the Nineteenth-Century West,’ in: Q. Edward Wang and Georg G. Iggers (eds.), Turning Points in Historiography: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (The University of Rochester Press, 2002) 147.