Professor Harrison studied at Harvard and Columbia and has taught at George Washington University since 1999 where she served as Director of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies from 2005-2009. She has published books and articles on the Cold War, the Berlin Wall, Germany and Russia, been an invited speaker in many countries and appeared on CNN, C-SPAN, the BBC, the History Channel, Spiegel-TV and Deutschlandradio. Professor Harrison has been a research fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, the Nobel Institute in Oslo, and the Davis Center at Harvard and has held a Fulbright Fellowship at the German Federal Foundation for Reappraising the SED Dictatorship. She served as Director of European and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council from 2000-2001. In Berlin, she is on the boards of the Allied Museum, the Berlin Wall Memorial Supporter’s Association, and the Cold War Museum Exhibit at Checkpoint Charlie.

Project Summary

Professor Harrison is working on a book manuscript that examines the history, memory and politics of German treatment of the Berlin Wall since 1989. After initially tearing down most of the Berlin Wall and wanting to leave it in the past, German leaders have recently come to devote significant attention and funding to preserving the remains of the Wall and highlighting its history and lessons. Harrison’s study yields important insights into the ongoing development of national identity in Germany. German leaders used the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall in 2009 as a moment to celebrate the entrance of Germany, with its history of two dictatorships in the 20th century, into the global community of nations formed from peaceful, democratic revolutions. The Germans have also gone to great lengths to deal with the dark past of the Wall by commemorating the victims both collectively and individually.

Hope Harrison discusses the history of the Berlin Wall: 

Major Publications

  • Driving the Soviets up the Wall: Soviet-East German Relations, 1953-1961. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003
  • Ulbrichts Mauer: Wie die SED Moskaus Widerstand gegen den Mauerbau brach (Ulbricht’s Wall: How the SED Broke Moscow’s Resistance to Building the Wall), Berlin: Propyläen Verlag, 2011
  • “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 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