This paper situates Carl Hempel’s 1942 paper “The Function of General Laws in History” within a broader debate over the philosophy of history in American academia between 1935 and 1943. I argue that Hempel’s paper was directed against German neo-Kantianism, and show how the German debate over historiography continued between 1939 and 1943 in the context of New York through the contributions of German philosophers who operated in the same intellectual network as Hempel, namely Paul Oskar Kristeller and Edgar Zilsel. Whereas this debate still witnessed many different philosophical approaches, Hempel’s logico-analytic methodology would come to dominate analytic philosophy of history.