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Kelsen, Hans

Born: 1881 AD
Died: 1973 AD
Nationality: Austrian
Categories: Jurist

1881 – Born on October 11th in Prague, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary (now in Czech Republic).  Austrian-American legal philosopher, teacher, jurist, and writer on international law, who formulated a kind of positivism known as the “pure theory” of law.

1905 – He converted to Catholicism in an attempt to avoid integration problems.

1908 – He attended a seminar in Heidelberg led by Georg Jellinek, an authority in public law.

1911 – Kelsen qualified as a teacher in public law and philosophy of law at the University of Vienna with his first major work, Hauptprobleme der Staatsrechtslehre, a 700-page study on the theory of public law.

1912 – Married to Margarete Bondi.

1914 – He established and edited the Austrian Journal of Public Law (three volumes).

1918-1919 – He became associate professor of law at the University of Vienna, and he was made full professor of public and administrative law.

1930 – Kelsen was a professor at Vienna, Cologne, Geneva, and the German university in Prague.

1933 – When the Nazis seized power the situation at the University of Cologne changed rapidly, with the result that Kelsen was removed.

         – He left for Geneva in autumn to start a new academic career at the Institut Universitaire des Hautes Etudes International. Despite having to confront and override various difficulties, not least of which that of teaching in a foreign language, this was an important and fruitful period for Kelsen.

1934 – His prodigious Reine Rechtslehre appeared, which contained a substantial part of his theory of international law:

1973 – Died on April 20th in Berkeley, California at the age of 91 years, leaving behind him almost 400 works, legacy of an immensely productive life.