History | Wilson Center


Cold War Democracy: The United States and Japan

Has American foreign policy been a reflection of a desire to promote democracy, or a simple product of hard-nosed geopolitics? In this talk, Jennifer Miller argues that democratic ideals were crucial, but not in the way most defenders claim. Focusing on the postwar occupation of Japan, she examines how the Cold War produced a new understanding of democracy as rooted in psychologies and mentalities.

Broken Lives: How Ordinary Germans Experienced the Twentieth Century

How could a cultured people like the Germans have fallen for Nazi propaganda and have collaborated in their crimes? And how were the defeated survivors able to recivilize themselves, become democrats and Western allies? The transatlantic historian Konrad H. Jarausch takes a fresh look at this puzzle, based on over 80 autobiographies of the Weimar children.

How Statesmen Think: The Psychology of International Politics

Decision-makers and scholars often assume that diplomatic signals are received as they are intended.  They have faith in both their ability to convey their messages to others and to correctly interpret others’ behavior.  Robert Jervis’ research shows that this is not true and that international politics often resembles the famous Japanese movie Rashomon

The Known Citizen: A History of Privacy in Modern America

Why and when did arguments about privacy become central to American public life?

Women and China’s Revolutions

If we place women at the center of our account of China’s past two centuries of history, how does this change our understanding of what happened?

Everyday Transnationalism: Soviet and American Correspondence During the Cold War

Scholars have long assumed that there was little contact between Soviet and American civilians during the Truman-Stalin era, a time more associated with the dawn of the Cold War, McCarthyism in America, and the anti-western Zhdanovshchina in the Soviet Union. And yet, during this tumultuous time, American and Soviet women were in regular, intimate contact. Between 1944 and 1955, they exchanged over 500 letters, attempting to safeguard peace and advance mutual understanding by becoming pen-pals.