Bringing Europe's Leaders Together

The Sense of History: Uses and Abuses of the Past
3-4 December 2004, Potsdam

In December 2004, the Club of Three convened a special meeting to examine the place and value of history in modern society.

Taking place over two days in Potsdam, a group of senior academics, historians and political figures gathered to discuss how politicians use and misuse historical myth, the dangers of societal ignorance of history and how history can affect the future (session I). Session II focused on the debate around history in education: what should be taught, is it a subject in decline and how is technology changing its teaching? The final session looked at the uses of history to business, journalism and the military.

Some 33 senior figures attended, including: Mathias Döpfner (CEO of Axel Springer); Niall Ferguson (British historian); the late Sir Bernard Crick (political theorist and biographer of George Orwell); the Rt Hon Michael Portillo MP (former Secretary of State for Defence); Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie (French historian); Margaret MacMillan (then Provost of Trinity College, University of Toronto); Eckart von Klaeden (then leader of the CSU/CDU group in the Bundestag); and Lisbet Rausing (Co-Founder, Arcadia).


– Conference agenda with speakers and chairs

– List of participants