Hope M. Harrison

photo: Hope Harrison
Associate Professor of History and International Affairs
Suite 412 Elliott School of International Affairs
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

The Berlin Wall, East and West Germany, united Germany, international history of the Cold War, Russian foreign policy, German foreign policy, the Caucasus, the influence of history on policy making in international affairs, the politicization of history, truth and reconciliation, historical justice, transitional justice, and the U.S. foreign and security policymaking process

Hope Harrison received her bachelor's degree in Social Studies from Harvard University and obtained her master's and doctorate degrees in Political Science from Columbia University, including a Certificate from the Harriman Institute. She taught at Brandeis University and Lafayette College where she was an assistant professor. Dr. Harrison has held research fellowships at the American Academy in Berlin, the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo, the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center, the Davis Center and the Belfer Center at Harvard University, the Institute of Europe in Moscow, the Center for Contemporary History in Potsdam, Germany, and the Free University of Berlin. In 2009-2010, she had a Fulbright Fellowship in Berlin at the German Federal Foundation for Reappraising the East German Communist Past, and in 2013-2014, she held a Wilson Center Fellowship with the History and Public Policy Program at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC. As an expert on the Cold War, Germany, and Russia, Dr. Harrison has been a featured expert on CNN, C-SPAN, the BBC, the History Channel, Deutschlandradio, Deutschlandfunk, Spiegel-TV, Voice of America (in Russia), NTV (Russia), and elsewhere. She has been invited to give lectures in the U.S., Canada, Russia, China, and throughout Europe. She has directed the Elliott School’s Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (2005-2009) and the Program on Conducting Archival Research (2001-2011). She has also served as the chair of the advisory council of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center (2008-2012).

Dr. Harrison is a Senior Fellow with the History and Public Policy Program as well as the Cold War International History Project at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Council on Germany, the American Institute for Contemporary Germany Studies, and the Atlantik Brücke. In Berlin, she is a member of the Berlin Wall Memorial Association, the international advisory board of the Allied Museum, and the governing board of the Cold War Center Museum in Berlin.

Government Service

Professor Harrison received a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship in 1999 to work in the US government. She spent her fellowship year serving in the White House at the National Security Council in the Clinton and Bush Administrations from 2000-2001. She was Director for European and Eurasian Affairs with responsibility for U.S. policy toward Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan. Among the issues she focused on were the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, the reconciliation process between Turkey and Armenia, and Georgian ties with the U.S. and Russia.


Ph.D., Columbia University


In 2015, Cambridge University Press will publish Dr. Harrison's next book, After the Berlin Wall: Memory and the Making of the New Germany, 1989 to the Present. This book examines how Germans have dealt with the historical memory of the Berlin Wall. It looks at the culture of memory and the politics of history in Germany concerning the Wall and the East German past more generally.

In 2003, Princeton University Press published Prof. Harrison's book, Driving the Soviets up the Wall: Soviet-East German Relations, 1953-1961. Based on her extensive work with former top secret communist documents in archives in Moscow and Berlin, the book investigates the process leading to the building of the Berlin Wall. Harrison's book won the 2004 Marshall Shulman Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (now called the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies)for the best book on the international behavior of the countries of the former communist bloc. In 2011, for the 50th anniversary of the erection of the Berlin Wall, an expanded and updated version of this book was published in Germany by Propyläen, Ulbrichts Mauer. Wie die SED Moskaus Widerstand gegen den Mauerbau Brach (Ulbricht's Wall: How the SED Broke Moscow's Resistance to the Building of the Wall).

Prof. Harrison has also published a variety of articles on the Cold War and the Berlin Wall in German Politics and Society, Cold War History, Deutschland Archiv, Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, Zeithistorische Forschungen/Studies in Contemporary History, Welt am Sonntag, Berliner ZeitungForbes.com, and in the Bulletin and Working Paper series of the Cold War International History Project. 

Classes Taught

HIST 3045 The International History of the Cold War

HIST 3168 Divided and United Germany since 1945

HIST 6188 Soviet Foreign Policy, 1917-1991

HIST 6030 History and its Uses in International Affairs

HIST 6051 Rethinking the Cold War