Hope M. Harrison is Associate Professor of History & International Affairs and Associate Dean for Research at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs in Washington, DC. She is the author of an award-winning book on the building of the Berlin Wall: Driving the Soviets up the Wall (Princeton Univ. Press, 2003) and an updated German edition, Ulbrichts Mauer (Propyläen, 2011). She has also written a variety of articles on the Berlin Wall and the Cold War. She is currently working on a book for Cambridge University Press, entitled, After the Berlin Wall: Memory and the Making of the New Germany, 1989 to the Present. From 2000-2001, she worked at the White House as Director for European and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council. She has appeared on The History Channel, CNN, C-SPAN, BBC, Deutschlandradio, CCTV, and elsewhere.

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