En historisk forening. Historisk Tidsskrift og historikerstridens afslutning, 1927-50
The unification of Danish historians. Historisk Tidsskrift and the end of the historians’ feud, 1927-50
During the inter war years, Danish historians were divided in two opposing camps. One camp, led by professor Aage Friis, from 1924 controlled the Danish Historical Association and thereby the most important Danish historical journal, Historisk Tidsskrift. The other camp, led by professor Erik Arup, demonstratively boycotted Historisk Tidsskrift and published in other journals. The feud ended in 1939 when Albert Olsen, a disciple of Arup, became a member of the board of the Danish Historical Association and thus a member of the editorial board of Historisk Tidsskrift. Gradually, peaceful relations among Danish historians were re-established.
In contrast to what hitherto has been assumed the end of the historians’ feud had nothing to do with war weariness or lofty ideals of scholarship. Arup and especially Friis opposed the fraternisation and would gladly have continued the fight. Analysing the social relations between the involved historians through letters and diaries, the article examines how and why the peace process nevertheless came about. It turns out that both Arup and Friis had lost influence among their closest allies. Axel Linvald, the editor in chief of Historisk Tidsskrift, felt that Friis had betrayed their friendship, and that he did not recognize his work. Similarly, the bond between Arup and Olsen had weakened. Finally, Linvald and Olsen had realised that it was possible to collaborate in other forums and that they had much to gain.
Furthermore, the understanding between Linvald and Olsen in 1939 could have remained an episode but the experiences gained from the editorial work showed that cooperation was indeed possible and thus paved the road for a full normalization of working relationships in the small world of Danish historians.