Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


School of Education


The German philanthropist Kurt Körber and the American historian David Van Tassel envisioned a future where students engaged in discovering the sources and interpreting the past for themselves rather than reciting facts filtered by a textbook or teacher. Their ideas developed into two strikingly similar programs: the Geschichtswettbewerb des Bundespräsidenten and National History Day. These endeavors became models for similar efforts in many other countries. This comparative history argues that such programs offer provocative insights into the civic nature and purpose of history education. Inquiry learning and enhanced access to sources gave students opportunities to ask their own questions of the past. Social history made it possible to investigate local history, tell the stories of marginalized groups, and use new sources. In classrooms guided by these philosophies, inquiry is the centerpiece of history instruction. These programs illuminate the connections between student-centered inquiry-based history education and national memory, democratization, and citizenship.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.