William Hitchcock

Professor of History

Nau 285



William I. Hitchcock is Professor of History at the University of Virginia and the Randolph P. Compton Professor at UVa's Miller Center. His work and teaching focus on the international, diplomatic and military history of the 20th Century, in particular the era of the world wars and the cold war. He has written widely on trans-Atlantic relations and European history and politics.

He received his B.A. degree from Kenyon College in 1986 and his Ph.D. from Yale in 1994, working under the supervision of Paul Kennedy. His first faculty appointment was to the Yale faculty and he taught there for six years, also serving as Associate Director of International Security Studies. He published France Restored: Cold War Diplomacy and the Quest for Leadership in Europe (UNC, 1998) and co-edited a volume with Paul Kennedy titled From War to Peace: Altered Strategic Landscapes in the 20th Century (Yale, 2000). He moved to Wellesley College in 1999, taught there for five years, and then took a position as a dean and professor of history at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he also served as Chair of the History Department. After publishing The Struggle for Europe: The Turbulent History of a Divided Continent, 1945-present (Doubleday/Anchor, 2002), he went on to write about the experience of liberation at the close of World War II. His book The Bitter Road to Freedom: A New History of the Liberation of Europe (Free Press, 2008) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, a winner of the George Louis Beer Prize, and a Financial Times bestseller in the UK. In 2010, he was appointed Professor in the History Department at the University of Virginia, and he joined the Miller Center as a participant in the “Governing America and a Global Era” program.

His most recent book is The Human Rights Revolution: An International History (co-edited with Petra Goedde and Akira Iriye, Oxford: 2012), which features an essay by Hitchcock on the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the evolution of the laws of war.

He is now at work on a book called “The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s.” For more information, click here.

Ph.D. Advisees and Dissertation Topics

Mary Barton: The Early History of Counter-Terrorism, 1898-1937.

Kathleen Berggren: “Forging a Soldier-State Social Contract: Veterans in American Politics, 1919-1980.”

Michael De Groot: Germany, Europe and the Great Powers in the 1970s.

Alexandra Evans: The Reagan Years in the Middle East

Stephanie Freeman: Nuclear Abolitionism and the End of the Cold War, 1979-1991.

Christopher Maternowski: TBD.

Timothy Sayle (Temple University): An International History of NATO, 1956-1968.



 The Human Rights Revolution: An International History, co-edited with Akira Iriye and Petra Goedde. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.


 The Bitter Road to Freedom: A New History of the Liberation of Europe. (New York: The Free Press/Simon and Schuster, 2008). Published simultaneously in Britain by Faber and Co., London.

 Winner, 2009 George Louis Beer Prize, American Historical Association.

 Finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction.

 Finalist for the 2009 Mark Lynton History Prize.

 Named to “Ten Best Books” List for 2008, Independent (UK)

 Bestseller List, Financial Times (UK).

 Translation: Dutch, Swedish, Italian, Polish.


 The Struggle for Europe: The Turbulent History of a Divided Continent, 1945-present  (New York: Doubleday, 2003; London, Profile Books, 2003; Anchor Books paperback, 2004).

 Hebrew translation: ha-Maavak `al Eropah : ha-historyah ha-so`eret shel yabeshet mehuleket, 1945 `ad yamenu (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 2006).

 Italian translation: Il continente diviso: Storia dell’Europa dal 1945 a oggi. (Rome: Carocci, 2005).


 From War to Peace: Altered Strategic Landscapes in the Twentieth Century. Co-edited with Paul Kennedy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000).


 France Restored: Cold War Diplomacy and the Quest for Stability in Europe, 1945-1954 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1998).

 A Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 1999.

 Books in Progress

 The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s, to be published by The Free Press in 2013.

 Refereed Articles

 “Pierre Boisson, French West Africa, and the Postwar épuration: A Case from the Aix Files.” French Historical Studies 24 (2: Spring 2001), 305-41.

 “France, the Western Alliance, and the Origins of the Schuman Plan, 1948-1950.” Diplomatic History 21 (4: Fall 1997), 603-30.

 Book Chapters

"Human Rights and the Laws of War: The Geneva Conventions of 1949." In Hitchcock, Iriye and Goedde, eds., The Human Rights Revolution (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).

 “The Marshall Plan and the Creation of the West,” in Melvyn P. Leffler and Odd Arne Westad, eds., The Cambridge History of the Cold War (New York and London: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

 “The Ghost of Crises Past: The Troubled Alliance in Historical Perspective.” In End of the West? Ed. G. John Ikenberry, Thomas Risse, and Jeff Anderson. (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2008).

 “Crisis and Modernization in the Fourth Republic: From Suez to Rome.” In Crisis and Renewal in France, 1918-1962, edited by Martin Alexander and Kenneth Mouré (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2002), 221-241.

 “Reversal of Fortune: France and Britain in the Postwar World, 1945-1956,” in Altered Strategic Landscapes in the Twentieth Century (New Haven: Yale Press, 2000).

 “Prospects for Europe and the Atlantic Alliance at Century’s End.” In Future Challenges in European and American Security Policy, edited by Kurt R. Spillmann and Andreas Wegner (Bern: Peter Lang, 1999).

 “France.” Encyclopedia of American Foreign Relations (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997), 162-178.

  Essays, Short Pieces

 “The Price of Liberation,” Quarterly Journal of Military History 21, 3 (Spring 2009), 20-29.

 “Pierre Boisson,” in Dictionnaire Charles de Gaulle (Paris: Robert Laffont, 2006), in French.

 “Charles de Gaulle” and “Fouchet Plan,” in The Encyclopedia of the Cold War (Routledge/MTM Publishing, forthcoming).

 “The Greatest Myth,” Prospect Magazine, April 2003 (no. 85), 10-11.

 “State of the Nations,” Reuters Magazine, March/April 2003 (no. 55), 30-33.

 “Counterblast: Has postwar Europe been a good example to a troubled world?” BBC

History Magazine, March 2003 (4, no.3), 45.

 Recent papers and public lectures

 “Liberation: The Meaning of Freedom at the Close of World War II Europe – and Beyond.” Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, November 12, 2009.

 “Historians and the End of World War II in Europe,” Pritzker Military Library, Chicago, April 9, 2009.

 “The Liberation of Europe,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, Philadelphia, October 30, 2008

 “Race, Sex and Power on the Normandy Frontier.” Seventh European Social Science History Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, February 29, 2008.

 “The Continuing Crisis: NATO in Historical Perspective,” paper delivered to NATO Defense College, Rome, Italy, October 11, 2006.

 “The Marshall Plan and the Creation of the West,” Conference on the Cambridge History of the Cold War, March 30-April 2, 2006, Truman Presidential Library, Independence, MO.

 “France’s German Dilemma from Schuman to de Gaulle: Une Certaine Idée de l’Allemagne,” at conference on “Western Integration, German Unification and the Cold War - The Adenauer Era in Perspective,” Georgetown University, BMW Center for German and European Studies, in cooperation with the German Historical Institute, March 24, 2006.

 “The Ghost of Crises Past: The Paradoxical Strength of the Atlantic Alliance,” Georgetown University, June 25, 2004.

 “The Atlantic Alliance after Iraq,” Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, February 28, 2004.

 “Europe and America: The Shattered Alliance,” Edinburgh Book Festival, Scotland, August 9, 2003.

 “Europe Lost the Iraq War,” International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven, June 25, 2003.

 “Varieties of Liberation: Europeans at the Close of World War II,” Wellesley College Summer Symposium on World War II, June 5, 2003.

 “The Continuing Struggle for Europe,” Harvard Club of New York, February 25, 2003.

 “The United States and Europe: Smooth Sailing or Storm Clouds Ahead?” Geneva Center for Security Policy, Geneva, Switzerland, August 2000.

 “Pierre Boisson, French West Africa, and the Post-Vichy Purge Trials: A Case from the Aix Files,” International History Colloquium, Yale University, January 1999.

 “Prospects for the Atlantic Alliance in the Twenty-first Century,” Geneva Center for Security Policy, Geneva, Switzerland, August 24, 1998.

 “The Lessons of Suez: France, the United States, and the Origins of the Treaty of Rome,” Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, Washington, DC, June 1998.

 “France and the European Defense Community Debate, 1950-1954,” Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, Boulder CO, June 23, 1996.

 “Autonomy and Hegemony in the Western Alliance: France and the Politics of German Rearmament, 1950-1954,” Society for French Historical Studies, Boston, March 23, 1996.

 Teaching Fields

 The Cold War and After: World Politics since 1945

Europe since 1945

Twentieth Century Europe

Occupied Europe, 1939-1945: Genocide, Resistance, Collaboration

The Global Crisis: World Politics in the 20th Century

 Strategy and Diplomacy of the Great Powers, 1750 to the Present

The American Century: 20th Century U.S. Foreign Relations

 Historical Origins of Contemporary Conflict: War in Today’s World

Europe Overseas: Imperialism and Decolonization, 1880-1960

The First World War

The Second World War: War and Society (graduate seminar)

 Teaching Awards

Yale University: 1999 Sarai Ribicoff Award (teaching award for faculty in the humanities)




B.A. Kenyon College, 1986

Ph.D. Yale University, 1994