William Hitchcock

Randolph P. Compton Professor of History

Fast Facts

  • Hitchcock's book, The Bitter Road to Freedom: A New History of the Liberation of Europe, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
  • Expertise on Dwight Eisenhower, diplomatic history, military history, Cold War

Areas Of Expertise

  • Foreign Affairs
  • American Defense and Security
  • War and Terrorism
  • Europe
  • The Presidency

William I. Hitchcock is the Randolph P. Compton Professor at the Miller Center and professor of history at the University of Virginia. His work and teaching focuses on the international, diplomatic and military history of the 20th Century, with a particular focus on the era of the world wars and the Cold War. He has written widely on trans-Atlantic relations and European history and politics.

Hitchcock 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.

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

Hitchcock's latest book is The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s.

William Hitchcock News Feed

Places, dates, and times for Will Hitchcock's national book tour to promote "The Age of Eisenhower"
That same day, Simon & Schuster published a new book, The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s, written by University of Virginia historian William Hitchcock. On Thursday morning, I met with Dr. Hitchcock at his office at the Miller Center for Public Affairs and asked him questions about Ike, starting with this: “What would President Eisenhower — or General Eisenhower — think about President Trump’s plans for a big military parade later this year?” (Hitchcock also participated in a panel at the Virginia Festival of the Book with two other historians.
William Hitchcock The Score
John Farrell, Richard Nixon, Will Hitchcock, The Age of Eisenhower, and Sharon Weinberger, The Imagineers of War, talked about the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower. This event was part of the Virginia Festival of the Book held in Charlottesville.
William Hitchcock C-SPAN
How does Ike's disciplined approach stack up against Trump's chaos theory? Ike's discipline made midcentury America into a global powerhouse. Trump's chaos threatens to leave it weakened and adrift.
William Hitchcock CNN
The close bond between Christianity—evangelical Protestantism, in particular—and the American presidency began to form in the 1950s. That decade was a time of extraordinary religious revival: Church membership rose from 49 percent of Americans in 1940 to 69 percent in 1960. And President Dwight D. Eisenhower—along with Graham—played an important part in encouraging this spiritual devotion. In fact, Eisenhower played a very personal role in popularizing religious faith in America.
William Hitchcock History Channel
Miller Center scholars are featured in a wide range of Virginia Festival of the Book events this week