What are some interesting primary history books

What historical sources are there?

Before we begin to deal with the individual types of sources, you must first understand what historical sources actually are.

In principle, any object can become a historical source, regardless of whether it is a book, a picture, an item of clothing, a sound or image recording or a piece of furniture. A historian is able to relate every object to the past based on a specific question using the so-called "historical method", thus making it a source and working out information about it.

Generally, between distinguished two types of sources. For one thing, there is Primary sources. They come from the time about which they report in terms of content. Your author / creator was involved “live” in the historical events or was able to follow them. Therefore, primary sources describe the events from a narrowly defined perspective determined by the circumstances of the time and the contemporary position of the author.

Example of a primary source:
Your exam is about the First World War and you should analyze a speech by Kaiser Wilhelm II. Kaiser Wilhelm II lived at the time of the First World War and was significantly involved in the events.

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In addition to the primary sources, there are also the so-called Secondary sources. This can be, for. B. are scientific texts by historians. Secondary sources are written with a time lag to the events. They are often in the form of text and in most cases the author was not personally involved in what happened. Secondary sources refer to primary sources. In you the event is recapitulated, reflected, judged and critically questioned.

Example of a secondary source:
Your exam has the topic of World War I and you should analyze texts by Fritz Fischer and Christopher Clark on the causes of war in a comparative way. Both are historians and have researched and published on the subject at different times. Both came to very different results.

Primary sources appear very authentic at first glance. Due to the narrowly limited perspective of their author, however, they often say just as much (or little) about the author as they do about the events they report on. But secondary sources also have no natural claim to objectivity, since the author also evaluates the event from his own position. Both types of sources must therefore be critically questioned and analyzed.

Sources tell history, but they are not themselves. They need to be interpreted.

In the Abitur exams you can be confronted with both types of sources. As a rule, you will be dealing with text and image sources, which is why we will only deal with these types of sources in the following chapters.