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Projekt-, Werk- bzw. Publikationstitel:

"The United Nations and the ‚Congo Crisis‘ (ONUC, 1960-1964)" (working title)

  • Zeitgeschichte

  • Aussereuropaeische Geschichte
  • Kolonialgeschichte

Zusammenfassung der Promotion:

ONUC, the UN-peacekeeping mission during the so called “Congo crisis, was a turning point in UN history. This research project believes there was a direct connection between this Opération des Nations Unies au Congo (1960-1964) and the new concept of international politics by UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld proposing a comprehensive revision of the role of the United Nations Organisation as active and truly super-national and the only actor on the international stage being independent of national interests, cold war coalitions or disputes over colonial power. Such a strengthened UN was Hammarskjöld’s answer to the daunting challenges of the Cold War and decolonisation at the time. ONUC became the „great test“ of the efficiency of Hammarskjöld’s ideas during the „Congo crisis“, one of Africa’s most dramatic crisis of decolonisation and among the most dangerous Cold war crises. ONUC is still one of the most extensive missions in UN history with an exceptionally large number of states taking part. But it became not the anticipated success. The „trauma“ of the Congo-mission made the states very hesitant to approve further UN peacekeeping missions after 1964 and shook the confidence in the problem-solving capabilities of such missions and the UN-Secretary General tremendously. But how UN peacekeeping is done today is in huge parts based on the experience in the Congo, principles developed for ONUC are still valid and in use and traces of Hammarskjöld’s ideas can be found everywhere in the work of today‘s United Nations Organisation. The study’s aim is an empirical analysis of the first Congo-mission of the UN as an attempt of the implementation of Hammarskjöld’s visionary ideas into practical experience based on rich but yet mostly unexplored archival sources. It takes part in the lively research debate on international, transnational and global history and makes use of methodological approaches such as perception theory and the analysis of international systems. This project deals with a topic considered to be a decisive event in the history of the United Nations; it is, however, a topic for which historiographical analyses and notably empirical studies are still scarce. The research project promises therefore important and innovative contributions to the historiography of the UN and thus to the international history of the second half of the 20th century.

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Herbert

Universität Freiburg


Jahr (ggf. voraussichtliches) der Veröffentlichung: 


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