The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Marc Bloch

Marc Lâeopold Benjamin Bloch (July 6, 1886 - June 16, 1944) was a historian of medieval France in the period between the First and Second World Wars, and a founder of the Annales School.

Born at Lyon, the son of the professor of ancient history Gustave Bloch , Marc studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and Foundation Thiers in Paris, then at Berlin and Leipzig. He was in the infantry in World War I and won the Legion of Honor.

After the war, he went to the university at Strasbourg, then in 1936 succeeded Henri Hauser as professor of economic history at the Sorbonne. A part of the University of Strasbourg is now named after him (see Marc Bloch University).

In 1929, Bloch founded, with Lucien Febvre, the important journal Annales d'histoire économique et sociale (now called Annales. Économies, Sociétés, Civilisations ) whose name came to be attached to an historical approach called the Annales School. Bloch's own most important work centered on the study of feudalism.

Bloch has had lasting influence in the field of historiography through his unfinished manuscript "The Historian's Craft," which he was working on when he was killed by the Germans. Bloch's book and "What is History?" by Edward Carr are often considered some of the most important historiographical works of the 20th century.

Bloch's last book, Strange Defeat was a brief assessment of the rapid failure of the French army to repel the German Blitzkrieg in 1940 (which was published posthumously). Bloch was shot by the Gestapo during the German occupation of France for his work in the French Resistance.


  • Feudal Society, Tr. L.A. Manyon, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961). ISBN 0226059790
  • Strange Defeat; a Statement of Evidence Written in 1940 (London: Oxford University Press, 1949).
  • The Historian's Craft, Tr. Peter Putnam, (New York: Vintage Book, 1953)


  • Carole Fink , Marc Bloch: A Life in History (Cambridge University Press, 1989) ISBN 0-521-40671-4
  • Joseph Lambie , ed., Architects and Craftmen in History (1956)
  • H. Stuart Hughes , The Obstructed Path: French Social Thought in the Years of Desperation, 1930-1960 (1968)

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Last updated: 05-16-2005 14:21:01