Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar Hope M. Harrison was featured in The Washington Post discussing the 50th anniversary of the American/Soviet showdown at Checkpoint Charlie—an incident that some feared would trigger nuclear war. “The construction of the wall was largely an East German initiative,” Harrison said at a conference hosted by  The National Declassification Center at the National Archives, in partnership with the Historical Review Program of the CIA. The conference centered on the release of 370 documents about the building of the Berlin Wall which shed new light on Berlin crisis of 1961.

Visit www.washingtonpost.com to read the article in full.

Visit www.archives.gov for more information on the conference and the documents.

Hope M. Harrison is a Wilson Center public policy scholar and associate professor of history and international affairs at The George Washington University. Harrison is a senior scholar with the Wilson Center’s Cold War International History Project as well as chair of the Advisory Council of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute.

Harrison received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and obtained her master’s and doctorate degrees in political science from Columbia University. Formerly she taught at Brandeis University and Lafayette College and held research fellowships at the American Academy of Berlin, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Norwegian Nobel Institute and the Free University of Berlin. Harrison served in the White House on the National Security Council in both the Clinton and Bush administrations and was director for European and Eurasian affairs with responsibility for U.S. policy toward Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan.

Harrison is the author of numerous publications including Driving the Soviets Up the Wall: Soviet-East German Relations, 1953-1961 which won the 2004 Marshall Shulman Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies for the “best book on the international behavior of the former communist bloc,” and her expanded version of this book in German entitled Ulbrichts Mauer: Wie die SED Moskaus Widerstand gegen den Mauerbau brach has been featured widely in the German media this summer relating to the 50th anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall.