30 years of German Reunification

Co-hosted with the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard

October 8th 3:00 PM EST / 9:00 PM CET

An interview with Dr. Mary Sarotte

Registration closed

For most students today, German Reunification happened before or around the time they were born. This generation on both sides of the Atlantic may ask itself: Does it still matter to us?

The fall of the Wall was arguably the most important event in the history of the transatlantic relationship since the end of the Second World War. Opening up the subsequent possibility and reality of a reunified Germany, this magnetic event turned Berlin – and Germany more broadly – into a geopolitical focal point. The neustart that took place on October 3, 1990 brought together the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany. Thirty years later, we look back at this pivotal moment and ask: How should we remember it? Why should we remember it? And what can it teach a post-reunification generation in today’s world?

This event will be a conversation with Dr. Mary Sarotte, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins. A Cold War historian, Dr. Sarotte has engaged with German reunification academically and personally, having witnessed the fall of the Wall in Berlin in 1989. With these larger questions in mind, we hope that audiences from the U.S., Germany, and beyond will gain some insight into how this moment remains relevant today. We want to bring out the feeling of love that helped tear down the wall but also remember the tyranny that held it there and set it into contemporary context to show how and why it still matters today.

Dr. Mary Sarotte

Kravis Chair in Historical Studies, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

An expert in the history of international relations, Dr. Sarotte is the inaugural holder of the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Distinguished Professorship of Historical Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Most recently, she was the Dean’s Professor of History and Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern California (USC). She is also a research associate at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies. Dr. Sarotte earned her AB in History and Science at Harvard and her PhD in History at Yale University. She is the author or editor of five books, including The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall and 1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe, both of which were selected as Financial Times Books of the Year, among other distinctions and awards. Following graduate school, Dr. Sarotte served as a White House Fellow, then joined the faculty of the University of Cambridge, where she received tenure before accepting an offer to return to the United States to teach at USC. Dr. Sarotte is a former Humboldt Scholar, a former member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She also serves on the board of the Willy Brandt Foundation in Berlin.