The Institute of Contemporary History was established in 1959. Its original name was “Institute for the History of the Workers’ Movement”, in line with the political understanding of the field of contemporary history at the time. The Institute also included an archive, storing the materials of the resistance movement and occupation authorities in Slovenia from the period from 1941 to 1945. Although the initial goal of the Institute was to study the workers’ and resistance movements of World War II, the scope of its activities has expanded to the study of the whole of contemporary Slovenian history beginning as early as the 1970s.
After a decade of growth, at the beginning of the 1970s, researchers outlined research programmes to explore the period before World War I, the interwar period, and World War II. A few years later, the programme of researching the period after World War II was also drawn up. The researchers undertook a systematic analysis of all aspects of recent Slovenian history, from political to economic to social history. Only as late as 1989 did the Institute manage to persuade the authorities to formally rename it the Institute of Contemporary History, which is an appropriate name reflecting its professional work. In the transitional period after the introduction of a democratic system, the Institute changed in regards to new research policies and organisation of science. Its archive was absorbed into the State Archive of the Republic of Slovenia in 1992.
At the turn of the millennium, it was divided into two research programmes: the first programme brings together researchers of political and ideological history, while the second includes experts of economic and social history. In the last decade, the Institute has been a scientific research institution with approximately thirty to forty employees, of these twenty-five to thirty researchers. More than half have doctorates, while the younger associates are working on their doctoral theses as part of the “junior researcher” programme. Many of them also lecture at Slovenian universities. The researchers publish the results of their work in the chief Slovenian historical and other humanist and social sciences magazines, topical collections of scientific texts, as well as monographs. Through their contributions, they take part in numerous national and international scientific meetings and foreign magazines, especially those published in neighbouring countries.
The Institute of Contemporary History functions as a central research organisation for the field of contemporary history in the Republic of Slovenia. It is dedicated to scientific and professional exploration and presentation of the period from the 19th century to date, and it strives to cover historical developments in their entirety. In its mission, the Institute recognises the requirements of historiography, outlines research topics, and opens new areas of research. In its research, it cooperates with research and pedagogical institutions in the Slovenian, local, European, and global space. The institute’s associates communicate the results of their research at the university and college as well as postgraduate, Master’s, and Doctoral level. The Institute cooperates with all university and other higher education institutions in the Republic of Slovenia.