Keywords: European Integration; European Union; European Community; Comparison; Historiographies.
This article compares German and Italian research on the history of the European Union. It distinguishes three forms that have characterized historical production in both countries since the 1970s, when empirical research on this issue commenced: federalist approaches, in which the search for a «useable past» loomed large; a state-centric approach that highlighted the role of national interests and, thirdly, a new methodological and interpretative diversity that tries to overcome monocausal and simplistic assumptions. All three forms roughly correspond with specific periods in time. Having said this, the article sees the similarities in forms and periods not as a specificity of how the fi eld developed in Germany and Italy, but rather as a wider trend throughout Western Europe. Moreover, it also highlights the clear differences that separate Italian and German historiographical debates on the history of European union.