paris 1950
paris 1950


In April 1948, the International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS) decided that the pre-war tradition of organizing international meetings of historians should be continued. Paris was chosen for the place of the 9th Congress, the first after the end of World War II. The burden of organization was taken by the French Committee for Historical Sciences, which assured that it would also deal with logistics issues, including accommodation for all participants and discounts on train travel around France. The French historians most involved in the organization of the Congress were Robert Fawtier and Michel François.
Due to the fact that during earlier congresses many sections were meeting at the same time, a different formula of speeches was announced. It was planned to agree and send a list of topics that they wanted to raise during the Congress. Above all, however, it was decided that within each section a leading paper would be prepared by a specialist in the given field, which would then be sent to participants, which was to enable them to read the text before Congress.
The Congress in Paris took place from August 28 to September 3, 1950, in the UNESCO building. Representatives of all historical fields from 30 countries arrived, in the number of almost 1,400. In the morning, seven sections were held (anthropology and demography, history of ideas, economic history, social history, history of civilization, political history, history of institutions), discussing the above-mentioned leading papers, which was published in the form of a book.
One of the topics discussed was the use of historical research demographics, which turned out to be a widely and long-discussed issue. A transcript of this discussion was published together with papers from the afternoon sessions, which were discussed in a traditional way (speeches had not been published before). The condition in this case was the appropriate attractiveness of the topics (they were to arouse the interest of all participants and stimulate comparative discussions).
After the Congress ended, Michel François in the pages of the “Bibliothèque de l’École des chartes” asked himself and others questions that also occurred during the meeting in Paris – that is, the legitimacy of organizing such large meetings and the rules that should apply to them. He believed that at the next congresses it would be necessary to select key issues that should then be developed by prominent specialists. A reasonable amount of time should be provided for their speeches, and the organizers should ensure that interested historians can participate in the discussion. Papers should be available beforehand so that the discussion is well prepared and thus more fruitful. He also believed that in the case of papers the division into sections became outdated and should be replaced by the selection of attractive topics.


  • IXe Congrès International des Sciences Historiques, „Bibliothèque de l’École des chartes”, no. 107-1, 1948, p. 98-100
  • IXe Congrès international des sciences historiques Paris, 28 août – 3 septembre 1950. I. Rapports, Paris 1950
  • IXe Congrès International des Sciences Historiques, Paris, 28 août – 3 septembre 1950. II. Actes, Paris 1950
  • J. Bourdon, La démographie au Congrès International des Sciences Historiques, „Population”, no. 5-4, 1950, p. 755-756
  • M. François, Le IXe Congrès International des Sciences Historiques, „Bibliothèque de l’École des chartes”, no. 109-2, 1951, p. 300-303

Magdalena Heruday-Kiełczewska