The Institute for Recent History of Serbia, as an cultural institution, evolved trhough time from archive type instution to one of the leading scientific institution regarding XX century Serbian history. 

Its history began in January 1949 as a large Historical Department of the Central Commity (CC) of Communist Party (CP) of Serbia. Purpose of this department was of documentary and archival nature. In the following year it expanded its activity to cover the history of the CP for the period 1929-1941. years. In April 1952, the History Department of the CC of the CP of Serbia grew into the Commission for the History of the CC of the CP of Serbia. This changed, in fact expanded, the content of the work and the structure of employees. The boundaries of research into the history of the labor movement were shifted to the 19th century, then to the history of the Serbian Social Democratic movement until World War I and the history of the labor movement from 1919 to 1941; topics from the Liberation Movement were included. Since July 1954, the History Commission has been transformed into the Historical Archives of the CC of the CP of Serbia. On January 1, 1959, the Historical Archives became part of the CC of the CP of Serbia, and the "Institute for the Collection and Processing of Documents on the Development of the Labor Movement" in Serbia was established as an independent institution. It retained mainly the character of the archival institution, but also taking over some scientific tasks, such as drafting a monograph for the multi-level history of SKJ. In 1965, the Institute was registered with the Belgrade District Court under the name "Institute for the History of the Labor Movement - Belgrade".

The period from 1965, when the Institute was renamed the Institute for the History of the Labor Movement of Serbia, but as an institution engaged in "cultural activity", until 1979 when it was recognized as a scientific institution, was fruitful.

Already in 1966, an agreement was reached on the cooperation of the historical institutes of Vojvodina and Kosovo and this Institute, and preparations were being made for the publication of a joint collection of works, called "Currents of Revolution". The publication, as a joint publication, was published until 1973. Since then, "Currents of Revolution" has been published once a year as a stand-alone edition of the Institute, which has published works by his and external associates.

Beginning in 1970 when the Institute's petitions were met, work on four projects (in fact subprojects) within the framework of the general project History of the Serbian People (1. Socialist Labor Movement in Serbia until 1918; 2. CPY and the Labor Movement in Serbia between two world wars, 3. NOR (National Liberation War) and revolution in Serbia and 4. Socialist construction of Serbia) were funded by the Republican Science Community of Serbia.

The Institute has succeeded in keeping a constant eye on the improvement of its people, to fulfill the last condition required by the Law on Scientific Activities, to have 10 PhDs permanently employed. Thus, on April 25, 1979, by a decision of the Executive Committee of the Assembly of the Republican Union of Science of Serbia, it was formally awarded for a scientific institution. In September 1979, the Institute was registered in the Register of Scientific Organizations with the Republic Secretariat for Education and Science of SR Serbia.

In the early 1980s, a chain of changes began to unfold in the Institute, in a quiet and discreet, but at the same time decisive way, which eventually resulted in a completely new content and appearance of the Institute. From the beginning to the end of the 80's, more than 10 assistant - researchers were recruited. They fully, in a new, modern and efficient way, realized their scientific careers at the Institute and today represent its senior generation. With them, a number of new topics were introduced into the Institute, designed and implemented in close cooperation with the Department of History of the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade. Most master's and doctoral theses are defended in the most successful way at the same Faculty. They represented a new corpus of topics and contents of the Institute, which created the need for a new subproject: Serbia between the two World Wars, that is, in the twentieth century, its socio-economic and political history, which, methodologically and in a general theoretical sense, would be part of the trends in the European and world historiography. The Republic Science Community of Serbia gave its approval and this sub-project took its place in the overall project of the Institute, initially focusing on four main thematic circles: political parties, village research from socio-economic, political and cultural aspects, the military and the church. The Institute's new programmatic orientation with new people has taken such a concrete look. With continuous cooperation with colleagues from the Faculty of Philosophy. The thematic circles were expanded and refined, with a slower influx of new assistant trainees. Thus, the Institute was engaged in the implementation of the general project "History of Serbia and the Serbian People", which is divided into three subprojects. 1. Society of Serbia between the two World Wars; 2. Serbia in World War II; 3. Post-war development of Serbia.

In the early 1990s, one of the major consequences of this turn was the complete change in the concept of editing the Proceedings, that is, the journals of the Institute, and its rise to the leading periodicals of 20th century in our country under the name "Currents of History".

In October 1992, the Institute was renamed the Institute for Recent History of Serbia.

For more than half a century of its existence, this scientific institution has had a rich production. It has been written and published: 23 books of proceedings of the "Currents of the Revolution", 2 books of the "Currents of Revolution" and 54 books of the magazine "Currents of History", 79 books in total, 120 monographs, one bibliography; 12 editions of the proceedings and 16 books of thematic collections.

In addition to their main activities, the Institute's associates were realized through the above publications, participated in a series of scientific meetings, panels, round tables, held numerous lectures and had numerous public appearances on the media, in broadcasts of scientific and cultural content.

Tendencies that came to light in the early 80's, with the entry of new people and new historiographic content into the Institute, which were further nurtured and developed through new topics, first of all social history, gave a great result, forming a new, modern scientific institution , like the ones in the world.