Norman Rufus Colin Cohn 1915–2007

William Lamont

in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 161, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, VIII

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780197264577
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734267 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Norman Rufus Colin Cohn 1915–2007

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Norman Rufus Colin Cohn (1915–2007), a Fellow of the British Academy, wrote three major histories around a single theme. The Pursuit of the Millennium (1957) related the apocalyptic beliefs of twentieth-century totalitarian movements, whether Nazi or Communist, to their origins in medieval heresy. Warrant for Genocide (1967) established that the key document of a Jewish world conspiracy, The Protocol of the Elders of Zion, was a nineteenth-century Tsarist forgery. Europe's Inner Demons (1975) argued that the belief in a Satanic pact was at the heart of witch persecution in early modern Europe. Within a year of retiring as Director of the Columbus Centre, Cohn was invited to Concordia University, Montreal, to help launch an Institute for Genocide Studies. He regarded his three books as tied to the Columbus Centre agenda and as such compatible with Lord Dacre's own search for what it was in Germany's myths and history that Adolf Hitler's mind could have been working upon in his lost years in Vienna.

Keywords: British Academy; heresy; Genocide Studies; Lord Dacre; Germany; persecution; Concordia University; Europe

Chapter.  9341 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Methods and Historiography

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