Schieder was born in Oettingen and lived in Königsberg in East Prussia since 1934. In the interwar period Schieder became a part of a group of German conservative historians antagonistic towards the Weimar republic and joined the Nazi Party in 1937. During the Nazi era he pursued a racially oriented social history (Volksgeschichte) and warned about the supposed dangers of Germans mixing with other nations. The primary purpose of Schieder's research was to justify alleged German supremacy. He was the author of the "Memorandum of 7 October 1939", calling for expulsion of millions of Jews, Poles, Russians and other nationalities from Eastern Europe in order to create "room" for German settlers. His suggestions were later incorporated in the German Generalplan Ost.
World War II
Memorandum of 7 October 1939
After Invasion of Poland by Germany Schieder created a memorandum called "Settlement and ethnic questions in the reclaimed areas of Poland" which summarized work of a group dedicated Ostforschung. Deporations of Jews and Poles were justified in the memorandum with the right of the victor, he also warned about "dangers of racial mixing" and "ethnic infiltration". He demanded removal of Jews from Polish cities and liquidation of Polish intelligentsia; only 150.000 Kashubs were suitable for Reich citizenship after a probation period. The memorandum made in autumn 1939 provided information on national issues in contested areas of Polish-German borderlands and demonstrated that a group of historians in Eastern Germany were ready to help Nazis in their goals of ethnic cleansing
Support for Nazi expansion
Schieder also enthusiastically supported German invasion of Poland and wrote academic papers on Germany's role as a "force of order" and a "bearer of a unique cultural mission", in Eastern Europe. During the war he along Werner Conze gave advice on Lebensraum policies of Nazi regime in occupied territories in the East, which included theories on dejudaization of towns in Poland and Lithuania.
Cooperation with Gauleiter Erich Koch regarding ethnic situation in conquered territories
In March 1940 Schieder who was director in charge of Regional Office for Postwar History(Landesstelle fur Nachkriegsgeschichte) presented the local Gauleiter Erich Koch with a detailed plan regarding studies of territories annexed to East Prussia; Koch himself wanted to know political, social and ethnic conditions in those areas. Schieder in return sent two reports to Koch, including a population inventory conducted at the end of 19th century of the area in question, which was most relevant to Nazi policies of extermination and settlement, and provided basis for segration of Jewish and "Slavic" spouses from ethnic Germans in the German Volksliste.
In 1942 Gauleiter Erich Koch expressed thanks to Schieder for his help in Nazi operations in annexed Poland wrtiting: As a director of 'Landesstelle Ostpreußen für Nachkriegsgeschichte' you have provided material that provided significant service in our fight against Poles and continues to help us in establishing new order today in Regierungsbezirke Zichenau and Bialystok.
After the war, Schieder settled in West Germany, where he held a position at University of Cologne and worked as a highly respected historian for West German government. In 1952 he headed the government commission for researching the expulsion of Germans. From 1962 to 1964 he was the rector of the University of Cologne and from 1965 headed the Research Department of the History Department. He was also the president of the Historical Commission of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and the president of the Academy of Sciences of Rhine-Westphalia. From 1967 to 1972 Schieder chaired the German Historians' Association. He died in Cologne, Germany.
- Schieder, Theodor (ed.). Documents on the Expulsion of the Germans from Eastern & Central Europe, Bonn: Federal Ministry for Expellees, Refugees, & War Victims, (Dates may indicate year of English translations rather than original publication):
- vol.1: The Expulsion of the German Population from the Territories East of the Oder-Neisse Line (1959).
- vol.2/3: The Expulsion of the German Population from Hungary and Rumania (1961).
- vol. 4: The Expulsion of the German Population from Czechoslovakia (1960).
- Friedrich der Grosse. Ein Königtum der Widersprüche, Ullstein 1983 (engl: Frederick the Great, Longman publ. 1999)
Moeller, Robert G. (2003). "Driven into Zeitgeschichte. Historians and the 'Expulsion of the Germans from East-Central Europe'". War Stories. The Search for a Usable Past in the Federal Republic of Germany. University of California Press. pp. 56–57. ISBN 978-0-520-23910-4.
- Moeller, pg. 56
- Moeller, pg. 57
- A Global History of Modern Historiography Georg G Iggers Q. Edward Wang Supriya Mukherjee page 262 Longman 2008
- Ingo Haar, Michael Fahlbusch, German scholars and ethnic cleansing, 1919-1945, Berghahn Books, 2006, pg. 14,18
- Stackelberg, Roderick (2007). The Routledge Companion to Nazi Germany. Routledge. p. 92. ISBN 0-415-30860-7.
- Fred Kautz, The German historians: Hitler's willing executioners and Daniel Goldhagen, Black Rose Books Ltd., 2003, pg. 93
- Wolfgang Bialas, Anson Rabinbach, Nazi Germany and the humanities, Oneworld, 2007, pg. xxxvi
- Alan E. Steinweis (2006). Studying the Jew: scholarly antisemitism in Nazi Germany. Harvard University Press. p. 121.
- Lessons and Legacies: New currents in Holocaust research Peter Hayes, Jeffry M. Diefendorff page 192
- Judaism from the Renaissance to Modern Times (Jewish Studies at the Turn of the Twentieth Century) (v. 2) page 317 Judit Targarona Borrás,Ángel Sáenz-Badillos Brill Academic Publishers 1999
- Macht - Geist - Wahn: Kontinuitäten deutschen Denkens Götz Aly page 175 Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1999
- Haar, Ingo (2007). ""Bevölkerungsbilanzen" und "Vertreibungsverluste"". In Ehmer, Josef. Herausforderung Bevölkerung: zu Entwicklungen des modernen Denkens über die Bevölkerung vor, im und nach dem "Dritten Reich" (in German). VS Verlag. p. 271. ISBN 3-531-15556-3.