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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Dr. Darren M. O'Byrne

Dr Darren O'Byrne
Research Associate and Affiliated Lecturer
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
01223 763 059

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics
Raised Faculty Building
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom


Darren graduated from University College Dublin with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Politics, and a Master’s degree in the History of International Relations. He received his PhD from Cambridge University and has held visiting fellowships at Berlin’s Humboldt University, Berlin’s Technical University, and the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich.


Teaching interests: 

German History

Modern European History


Research interests: 

Government and Administration in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Politics and Ideology

Regime Change

German Occupation Policy in World War 2

Genocide and Mass Violence


Recent research projects: 

Darren is working on his first book, an interdisciplinary study of the civil service in Weimar and Nazi Germany. Using models from political science and organisational sociology, the book argues that the administration functioned similarly under both democracy and dictatorship, and that the factors informing civil servants’ readiness to implement ambitious social policies after World War I and policies of genocide during World War II were often similar. As such, it provides an alternative interpretation to those emphasising ideology as a determinant of civil servants’ actions. Alongside this, he is working on German occupation policy in World War II, bureaucratic responses to regime-change throughout the twentieth century, and a political history of the year 1932.

Together with Prof. Chris Young, Darren is also working on sports and sports journalism in inter-war Germany. An essay on the funding for the 1936 Olympic Games is forthcoming, as is a book on Willy Meisl, an Austrian-Jewish sports journalist who revolutionised sports writing and commentary.


Published works: 

‘Perpetrators? Political civil servants in the Third Reich’, in Perpetrators and Perpetration of Mass Violence: Action, Motivations and Dynamics, eds. Timothy Williams and Susanne Buckley-Zistel (London and New York, 2018).