James Madison Professor of History
Director, Governing America in a Global Era (GAGE)
Office Hours: Wednesdays, 12-2PM
Field & Specialties
20th Century International
War and Society
America and the World
Europe and the World
B.A. Kenyon College, 1986
Ph.D. Yale University, 1994
William I. Hitchcock is the James Madison Professor of History at the University of Virginia. His work and teaching focus on the global history of the 20th Century, in particular the era of the two world wars and the cold war.
He received his B.A. degree from Kenyon College in 1986 and his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1994, working under the supervision of Paul Kennedy. He taught at Yale for six years, and served as the Associate Director of International Security Studies there. 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, where he taught for five years, and then took a position as a dean and professor of history at Temple University in Philadelphia. 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 moved to the University of Virginia. His most recent book is The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2018), which was a New York Times bestseller. He is now writing "FDR and the Dictators: Fascism, Democracy and the Awakening of America," which explores reactions in the United States to the rise of fascism in Europe from the 1920s to 1941.
He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia and is married to the Civil War historian Elizabeth R. Varon.
Ph.D. Advisees and Dissertation Topics
Mary Barton: The Early History of Counter-Terrorism, 1898-1937. (PhD 2016; Dept of Defense)
Kathleen Berggren: “Forging a Soldier-State Social Contract: Veterans in American Politics, 1919-1980.” (PhD 2016)
Vivien Chang: "Creating the Third World: Anticolonial Diplomacy and the NIEO, 1960-75." (PhD 2022; Yale ISS postdoc)
Michael De Groot: "Disruption: The Global Economy of the 1970s." (PhD 2017; Asst Prof, Univ Indiana)
Alexandra Evans: "Reagan's Middle East" (PhD 2018; RAND Corp.)
Matt Frakes: Rogue States: Counterterrorism in the Reagan Years
Stephanie Freeman: Nuclear Abolitionism and the End of the Cold War, 1979-1991. (Ph.D. 2017; Asst Prof., Mississippi State Univ.)
Mina Lee: Korea and the Challenge of Nuclear Energy in the 1970s
Emily Needham: U.S.-German Cultural Relations
Timothy Sayle (Temple University): An International History of NATO, 1956-1968. (PhD 2013; Asst Prof., Univ of Toronto.)
Felix Zuber: Transatlantic Peace Movements in the 1980s
Audrius Rickus: Detente between Europe and the United States
Zejun Wang, U.S.-China Relations in Cold War
Justin Winokur: The Making of the U.S. Warfare State
The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2018. New York Times bestseller.
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.
Awards & Honors
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.
Yale University: 1999 Sarai Ribicoff Teaching Award
The Cold War
War and Society in the Twentieth Century
Europe since 1945
Twentieth Century International History
Europe at War, 1939-1945: Genocide, Resistance, Collaboration
Strategy and Diplomacy of the Great Powers, 1750 to the Present
The Second World War