The Spectre of War: International Communism and the
Origins of World War II by Jonathan Haslam, George F.
Kennan Professor in the School of Historical Studies, was published
May 25, 2021, by Princeton University Press:
Two pairs of earrings, four bracelets, and a mixtape inspired me
to write this book. I was in the Stadtmuseum in the German city of
Jena, peering into the various display cases of an exhibit called
Freundschaft! Mythos und Realität im Alltag der
The Institute for Advanced Study came into being at the most inauspicious of times. Founded in the early years of the Great Depression, it took shape during the buildup to the Second World War and under the growing shadow of authoritarian regimes. Its first Director Abraham Flexner published his manifesto on the “The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge” in October 1939, barely a month after the outbreak of hostilities in Europe. Surely this was a daunting moment to defend “the fearless and irresponsible thinker” and advocate for the free expression of knowledge and curiosity.
In November 1954, Albert
Einstein wrote a letter to a magazine in which he declared
that, were he a young man again, he would not try to become a
scientist: “I would rather choose to be a plumber or a
peddler in the hope to find that modest degree...
Kristen Ghodsee, Member (2006–07) in the School of Social
Science and President of the Association of Members of the
Institute for Advanced Study, investigates the contemporary
European memory projects about World War II and the Cold War. Since
Russian spies held a morbid fascination in the minds of
Americans dating back to the Red Scare in 1919, following the
Bolshevik Revolution and the creation of the Communist
International, of which the Communist Party of the USA became a
“Freedom is the ultimate virtue of mankind”;
“Democracy is the only political system of modern man and
modern society”; “Therefore, Egypt must be committed to
freedom and democracy.” These are the words of ‘Abbas
Mahmud al-‘Aqqad in his book Hitlar...