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Dr Helen Roche

Dr  Helen Roche

Affiliated Lecturer in History, Faculty of History


Dr. Helen Roche is an Affiliated Lecturer in History at the Faculty of History.

Her first book, Sparta's German Children: The ideal of ancient Sparta in the Royal Prussian Cadet Corps, 1818-1920, and in National Socialist elite schools (the Napolas), 1933-1945, was published in 2013, and has subsequently received critical acclaim from reviewers in several disciplines, including Classics, intellectual history, and the history of education. Her second book, a comprehensive history of the Napolas, the Third Reich's most prominent elite schools, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press, while her article 'Surviving Stunde Null: Narrating the fate of Nazi elite-school pupils during the collapse of the Third Reich', was awarded German History journal's "Best Article of 2015" prize.

Previously, Helen held a Research Fellowship and then a full Fellowship at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, having completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Gonville & Caius College. Her research has been funded by (among others) the AHRC, the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) and the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz; she has also held the position of visiting scholar at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg and the Freie Universität Berlin.

Current collaborations include a project on 'Gewalt and Herrschaft from the Kaiserreich to the Berlin Republic', funded by the Cambridge DAAD-Research Hub, and contributions to an investigation of the Klosterkammer Hannover under National Socialism, run by Professor Dr. Detlef Schmiechen-Ackermann at the Leibniz Universität Hannover's Institut für Didaktik der Demokratie, and funded by the Volkswagen-Stiftung.

Planned future projects include a synoptic study of fascism in interwar Europe, a comprehensive survey of Classics and secondary education during the Third Reich, in collaboration with colleagues at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the Freie Universität Berlin, and the Deutsches Institut für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung, and a historical survey of Greco-German relations, including the philhellenist roots of current antagonisms over the financial crisis in the Eurozone.

Subject groups/Research projects

Modern European History:

Research Interests

  • German history from the nineteenth century onwards; National Socialism; Fascism
  • Austrian history during the inter-war period; comparative fascism studies
  • History of childhood and history of education, especially German elite education
  • Youth exchange during the twentieth century; Anglo-German relations
  • History and memory in post-war Germany
  • Classical reception in general, and German philhellenism in particular
  • Greco-German relations from the eighteenth century to the present
  • Humanistic education in Nazi Germany
  • Historical and historiographical work on elements of ancient Greek history

Research Supervision

PhD Dissertations

  • 'The Role of Foreign Diplomats in Vienna during the 1930s' (currently in progress)

MPhil Dissertations

  • 'The Impact of the TV Series Holocaust on West German Memory Culture, 1978-83'.
  • 'The SS-Kalender and the Dilemmas of Propagandizing the Volksgemeinschaft, 1938-1944'.
  • 'The Representation of Female Perpetrators of the Holocaust in British Newspapers, 1945-Present'.
  • 'Dictates of Style: The Influence of the Istituto di Studi Romani and Reichskulturkammer on the Classically-Inflected Built Environments of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, 1919-1939' (currently in progress).

BA Dissertations

  • Faculty of Classics Part II Dissertation: 'Lion Feuchtwanger: A Study in the Reception of Josephus' (Class I).


MPhil in Modern European History

Historical Tripos:

  • Part I, Themes and Sources (German option) - Politics of Memory in Germany after 1945
  • Part I, Paper 18: Key themes in modern European history
  • Parts I and II: Historical Argument and Practice

Modern and Medieval Languages Tripos:

  • Part II, Paper GE12: History and identity in Germany, 1750 to the present

Human, Social and Political Sciences Tripos:

  • Part I, Paper 1: Analysis of Politics I

Classical Tripos:

  • Part II, Paper X1: Being Human - Ancient and Modern Perspectives
  • Part II: Thesis Supervision
  • Parts I and II: Ancient History

Other Professional Activities

From 2011-2013, Helen chaired the Classics Faculty’s interdisciplinary ‘Classical Reception Discussion Group’ series of seminars and colloquia; she is currently the university's institutional member of the Classical Reception Studies Network (CRSN), and is also a member of the German History Society, the Cambridge New Habsburg Studies Network, the Legacy of Greek Political Thought Network, and the newly-founded Children's History Society. She was also a long-standing member of Professor Sir Richard Evans' Modern German History Research Seminar, and is now one of the co-conveners of the Cambridge Modern European History Research Seminar.

Key Publications






Other Publications

Reviewer for (among others) The English Historical Review, German History, German Quarterly, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Modern Language Review, Reviews in History, and The Classical Review, and contributor to History Today.