For his merits as a historian of contemporary international relations – including the political, economical, social and psychological aspects – and as a political scientist and leading scholar, Jean-Baptiste Duroselle is known for his work, his teaching and his numerous initiatives in developing studies in the history of contemporary international relations with a decisive, original and generous spirit.
Jean-Baptiste Duroselle (*1917 - †1994) has been a professor of modem History at the Sorbonne since 1964 and a member of the Institut de France (Académie des Sciences morales et politiques) since 1975. At the Sorbonne he has succeeded Pierre Renouvin, who had founded in 1935 the «Centre of history of contemporary international relations ». After his thesis in 1949 he has published more than twenty books. This places Jean-Baptiste Duroselle among the outstanding scientists who have particularly distinguished themselves by their researches and publications in this field of social sciences which is the history of the international life of our days.
After his thesis on the « Beginning of social Catholicism in France », he has never turned away from the study of the social, religious and political aspects which have characterized and guided the life of French society for the last one and a half century.
In 1972 and 1973 Jean-Baptiste Duroselle published two important works on France and the Frenchmen; the first about the period from 1900 to 1914 and the second from 1914 to 1918. This constant interest for contemporary social history deeply influenced his studies and reflections on the society.
His thorough researches on international conflicts, bilateral relations and national foreign policies are clear evidence of the wide scope of Duroselle’s scientific investigation, which is based on a fundamental historical material: the diplomatic archives. The following works resulted from this method: « Le conflit de Trieste » (1965), « Les relations germano-soviétiques 1933-1939 » (FNSP, 1954), « Les frontières européennes de l’URSS » (FNSP, 1957), « De Wilson à Roosevelt » (1961), and two volumes entitled « Le drame de l’Europe 1914-1945 » (1969). In 1979, Jean-Baptiste Duroselle published « La décadence » (1932-1939), a first section of a « History of the foreign affairs of France » since 1870.
More than a quarter of a century of studies, researches, meetings and scientific leadership have provided Jean-Baptiste Duroselle with considerable experience on contemporary international history, giving him the indispensable contributions which the historian acquires in other field of social sciences such as politology and sociology.
Jean-Baptiste Duroselle, together with his teacher Renouvin, has contributed to the transformation of the traditional diplomatic history into the history of international relations which includes the study of motivating forces, of collective emotions and of the dynamic interaction of economical, political and social factors.
He has introduced the methods of political science into history as can be seen in his studies on the Conflict de Trieste and in certain chapters of « La décadence » on the decision making process. He has also proved — and this is a contribution of decisive importance for the study of modem societies — that there is no politology unless based on the reconstruction of history with its dynamics and continuity.