The First Two Decades (1914-1933)

  • February 1914: The Royal Seminar for International Law (renamed ‘Institute’ in 1918) took up its work in the old town of Kiel, at Dänische Straße 15.
  • The main impulse for its foundation was the ‘first globalisation’ by a rapid expansion of world traffic, trade and information through technological innovation.
  • Theodor Niemeyer (1857-1939), the first director, had great influence on the organisation of international law and legal scholarship during his lifetime. Inter alia, he was a member of the Institut de Droit International and the guiding spirit behind the establishment of the German Society for International Law in March 1917, over which he presided until 1929.
  • The beginning of World War I in August 1914 marked a turning point. With the creation of the ‘War Archive’ and the ‘War Library of International Law’ in 1916, the Institute’s work focused on the research and documentation of the war in its legal and political dimensions.
  • After the war, the Institute dealt primarily with the international peace order newly established with the League of Nations.

 

  • In 1926 Walther Schücking (1875-1935) became the new director of the Institute.
  • As early as at the beginning of the 20th century, he stood up for an international peace order with strong organisations and courts. His progressive thinking and namely his motto ‘peace through law’ has shaped the Institute to the present-day.
  • During Schücking’s directorate, publications at the Institute grew significantly and with the extensive teaching offer, he managed to attract more and more students to the discipline of international law.
  • In the 1920s the Institute was at the top of international law academia in Germany. Its assistants included Jean Spiropoulos, Paul Guggenheim, and Walter Schätzel.
  • In 1930 Walther Schücking became the first and only German judge to the Permanent Court of International Justice in The Hague.
  • It came with no surprise when Schücking, committed to peace, was laid off in November 1933 after having been permanently put ‘on leave’ in April. His chair was separated from the Institute and given to the young Pro-Nazi constitutional lawyer, Ernst Rudolf Huber (1903-1990).
  • Walther Schücking remained a judge at the Permanent Court of International Justice until his death in August 1935.
  • To commemorate and honour him, the Institute was renamed Walther Schücking Institute in 1995.