Dr. Hope M. Harrison is Associate Professor of History and International Affairs at The George Washington University. She is the author of the new book, After the Berlin Wall: Memory and the Making of the New Germany, 1989 to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2019). Her previous work includes the prize-winning Driving the Soviets up the Wall (Princeton University Press, 2003) which was also published to wide acclaim in German translation (Ulbrichts Mauer, Propyläen, 2011). She received her B.A. in Social Studies from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University. Dr. Harrison is the recipient of fellowships from Fulbright, the Nobel Institute, the American Academy in Berlin, Harvard, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Dr. Harrison has served on the staff of the National Security Council as Director for European and Eurasian Affairs, (2000-2001), directed the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs (2005-2009), and currently serves on the board of four Berlin-based institutions: the Berlin Wall Association; the Allied Museum, the Black Box Cold War Exhibit at Checkpoint Charlie, and the Foundation for German-American Scientific Relations. She has appeared on CNN, the History Channel, the Science Channel, C-SPAN, the BBC, Deutschlandradio, ZDF, and Spiegel-TV.

Project Summary

Professor Harrison's work examines the influences of German history, particularly German historical memory of the Berlin Wall, on how contemporary German leaders view German national identity and the place of Germany in the world. The 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall was a turning point in what the Germans call “history policy” or “memory policy.” After decades of seeing themselves largely as perpetrators of the Holocaust, 20 years after the fall of the Wall, German leaders recast the nation as one born from the Peaceful Revolution of East German citizens in the fall of 1989. The fall of the Berlin Wall was the most visible and internationally significant aspect of 1989. Germany has joined the community of nations with democratic revolutions as their founding moment. This sense of German identity also helps explain Merkel’s insistence that Germany help refugees from war in Syria.

Hope Harrison discusses the history of the Berlin Wall: 

Major Publications

  • “The Berlin Wall and its Resurrection as a Site of Memory,” German Politics and Society, Issue 99, Vol. 29, No. 2 (Summer 2011), pp. 78-106. 


Previous Terms

Kennan Research Grant, July-Dec. 1998; Project: Soviet-East German Relations and the Path towards the Building of the Berlin Wall; Kennan Institute Fellow, June-Dec. 1998; Chair of the Advisory Council of the Kennan Institute, 2008-2012; Public Policy Scholar, Fall 2010; Public Policy Scholar, Summer 2012 Fellow, Sept - June 2014