Hope M. Harrison

Picture of Hope Harrison
Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E St NW
Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies
Washington, District Of Columbia 20052
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

  • Modern Europe
  • Cold War

Hope M. Harrison published a prize-winning book in 2003 on the East German and Soviet decision to build the Berlin Wall: Driving the Soviets up the Wall (Princeton University Press). An expanded and updated version of the book (Ulbrichts Mauer) was published in Germany in 2011 to glowing reviews. Co-founder and co-director of GW's Cold War Group, she is fluent in German and Russian and has worked extensively in archives in Moscow and Berlin. Her current book project examines the Berlin Wall as a contested site of memory in Germany from 1989-2019.  In 2019, Cambridge University Press will publish her book: After the Wall: Memory and the Making of the New Germany, 1989 to the Present. She has published a variety of articles on the Cold War, Germany and Russia and has been invited to speak in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Prof. Harrison 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 served as the Associate Dean for Research of the Elliott School from fall 2015- winter 2016. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Council on Germany, and the American Institute for Contemporary Germany Studies. In Berlin, she is a member of the Atlantik-Brücke and the Berlin Wall Memorial Association and serves on the boards of the Allied Museum, the Cold War Center, and the Foundation for German-American Academic Relations. 

Dr. Harrison has appeared as an expert on Cold War History, Russia and Germany on CNN, C-SPAN, the History Channel, the Science Channel, the BBC, Deutschlandradio (Germany), CCTV (China), Voice of America (Russia), and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from Fulbright, the American Academy in Berlin, the Norwegian Nobel Institute, the Wilson Center, the Davis Center at Harvard University, the Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, the Institute for Contemporary History in Potsdam, Germany, and the Council on Foreign Relations. From 2000-2001, Professor Harrison served at the National Security Council as Director of European and Eurasian Affairs at the White House under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Among the issues she focused on were the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh (for which Dr. Harrison served as the White House representative), the reconciliation process between Turkey and Armenia, and Georgian ties with the U.S. and Russia.

Complete C.V. (PDF)


Ph.D., Columbia University, 1993


“Berlin’s Gesamtkonzept for Remembering the Berlin Wall,” in Konrad H. Jarausch, Christian F. Ostermann, Andreas Etges, eds., The Cold War: Historiography, Memory, Representation (Oldenbourg: de Gruyter, 2017), pp. 239-266.

“Five Myths about the Berlin Wall,” Washington Post, 30 October 2014.

“From Shame to Pride: the Fall of the Berlin Wall through German Eyes,” The Wilson Quarterly, 4 November 2014.

“Berlin and the Cold War Struggle over Germany,” in Artemy Kalinovsky and Craig Daigle, eds., Routledge Handbook of the Cold War (Oxford, England: Routledge, 2014), pp. 56-72.

“The Berlin Wall and its Resurrection as a Site of Memory,” German Politics and Society 29, no. 2 (Summer 2011): 78-106.

New Evidence on the Building of the Berlin Wall,” Introduction, annotation and translation of a conversation between East German leader Walter Ulbricht and Soviet leader Nikita S. Khrushchev, August 1, 1961, Cold War International History Project e-dossier No. 23, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (August 12, 2011).

Ulbrichts Mauer: Wie die SED Moskaus Widerstand gegen den Mauerbaubrach. Berlin: Propyläen Verlag, 2011.

“Walter Ulbrichts ‘dringender Wunsch’,” Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte 31-34 (August 1, 2011): 8-15.

“Walter Ulbricht und der Bau der Mauer,” Deutschland Archiv 44 (2011): 15-22.

“Die Berliner Mauer an der Bernauer Strasse als ein Ort des Erinnerns, 1989-2011,” Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung XVII, no. 24 (2011):  281-297.

"Teaching and Scholarship on the Cold War in the United States." Cold War History 8, no. 2 (May 2008): 259-284.

"The Berlin Wall-an Icon of the Cold War Era?" In On Both Sides of the Wall: Preserving Monuments and Sites of the Cold War Era, ed. Leo Schmidt and Henriette von Preuschen, 18-27. Berlin and Bonn: Westkreuz-Verlag, GmbH, 2005.

"Ein Superalliierter und eine Supermacht? Sowjetisch-ostdeutsche Beziehungen, 1953 bis 1961." In Militär, Staat und Gesellschaft in der DDR: Forschungsfelder, Ergebnisse, Perspektiven, ed. Hans Ehlert and Matthias Rogg, 83-95. Berlin: Christoph Links Verlag, 2004.

Driving the Soviets Up the Wall: Soviet-East German Relations, 1953-1961. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003. Winner, 2004 Marshall Shulman Prize for the best book on international affairs/foreign policy of the former Soviet bloc by the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies.

"The German Democratic Republic, the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall Crisis." The Berlin Wall Crisis: Perspectives on Cold War Alliances, ed. John P.S. Gearson and Kori Schake, 96-124. Hampshire and NY: Palgrave/Macmillan Cold War History Series, 2002.

"Driving the Soviets Up the Wall: A Superally, A Superpower, and the Berlin Wall, 1958-61." Cold War History 1, no. 1 (August 2000): 53-74.

Classes Taught

HIST 3045: The International History of the Cold War

HIST 3168: The Two Germanys and the Cold War

HIST 6188: Soviet Foreign Policy, 1917-1991

HIST 6030: The Uses of History in International Affairs

HIST 6051: Re-thinking Cold War History

Politics, History and Memory in Berlin: Taught occasionally for two weeks in the summer in Berlin.