James Hershberg

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James Hershberg


U.S. Diplomatic, Cold War


Office Phone: (202) 994-6476
801 22nd St NW Washington DC 20052

James Hershberg explores the international history of the Cold War, with special attention to the impact of newly available sources from the former communist world as well as from U.S. and other Western archives. This research builds on his ongoing work with the Woodrow Wilson Center's Cold War International History Project (CWIHP), the National Security Archive at GWU, and his own research in U.S., British, Russian, Polish, Canadian, Brazilian, Italian and other archives. His newest book uses such sources to probe secret diplomacy during the Vietnam War. His first book examined the life of James B. Conant, the former Harvard president, atomic bomb project administrator, diplomat, and educational commentator. Current and recent projects include a book on the Cuban Missile Crisis, and scholarly and popular articles on various aspects of Cold War, nuclear, and U.S. foreign policy history (the atomic bomb, German question, Iran-contra affair, Sino-Indian war, et al.). Former CWIHP director, he now edits the CWIHP book series co-published by the Stanford University and Wilson Center Presses. Professor Hershberg also co-founded the GWCW, a Cold War studies group at GW for both faculty and students. He has also promoted archival openings and openness in locales ranging from Iran to Albania to Mongolia to Moldova.

  • 20th-century United States
  • Cold War

HIST 2340: U.S. Diplomatic History

HIST 3045: International History of the Cold War

HIST 3334: The Nuclear Arms Race

HIST 6051: Re-thinking Cold War History

HIST 6330: Modern U.S. Foreign Policy

Marigold: The Lost Chance for Peace in Vietnam. Stanford University Press/Wilson Center Press, 2012. Named by The Washington Post as one of the "Ten Books We've Loved This Year" in 2012.

"The Cuban Missile Crisis." In The Cambridge History of the Cold War, vol. 2, ed. O.A. Westad and M.P. Leffler. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

"Informing the Enemy: Sino-American 'Signaling' and the Vietnam War, 1965." In Behind the Bamboo Curtain: China, Vietnam, and the Cold War, ed. Priscilla Roberts, 193-257. Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press/Stanford University Press, 2006. Co-authored with Chen Jian.

"'The Jig Was Up': J. Robert Oppenheimer and the International Control of Atomic Energy, 1947-49." In Reappraising Oppenheimer: Centennial Studies and Reflections, ed. Cathryn Carson and David A. Hollinger, 149-183. Berkeley: Office for History of Science and Technology, University of California, Berkeley, 2005.

"The United States, Brazil, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962 (Parts 1 & 2)." Journal of Cold War Studies 6, no. 2 (Spring 2004): 3-20, and no. 3 (Summer 2004): 5-67.

"Peace Probes and the Bombing Pause: Hungarian and Polish Diplomacy During the Vietnam War, December 1965-January 1966." Journal of Cold War Studies 5, no. 2 (Spring 2003): 32-67.

James B. Conant: Harvard to Hiroshima and the Making of the Nuclear Age. New York: Knopf, 1993. Republished by Stanford University Press in 1995. Winner, 1994 Stuart Bernath Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Policy for the best first book on the history of American foreign relations.

Ph.D., Tufts University, 1989