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

Decades ago, President Eisenhower defeated the isolationist faction of the Republican Party. Now Trump is toppling his legacy, Miller Center scholar William Hitchcock writes in Politico.
Seventy-four years ago this week, 132,000 soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy, France in the greatest amphibious and air invasion ever attempted in wartime. June 6, 1944 stands out in our collective memory as a day of enormous personal heroism and sacrifice, and it will always be a hallowed date for Americans as well as for the French people, for whom D-Day marked the start of their liberation from Nazi tyranny. In 2018, however, the D-Day story carries even more power and weight because we live in a political climate that denigrates the very sources of strength that made the D-Day invasion such a dramatic success.
William Hitchcock CNN
Author and historian William I. Hitchcock presents a discussion of his New York Times bestselling book, “The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s,” Monday, June 4 at 6 p.m. at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.
William Hitchcock ABC8 News
Upon leaving the White House in 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower, though revered as a war hero and admired as a man, was widely considered a president of meager achievement. More recently, historians have vigorously challenged that end-of-term conclusion. William I. Hitchcock, a professor of history at the University of Virginia and its Miller Center for Public Affairs, furthers the cause in his magisterial “The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s.”
William Hitchcock Richmond Times-Dispatch
Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower may not have always seen eye to eye, but one thing they had in common was that their experience in war shaped the presidents they would become. On Wednesday, June 6, the 74th anniversary of D-Day, author Dr. William I. Hitchcock will speak at a free public program focusing on how Eisenhower’s accomplished military career prepared him for serving as Commander in Chief through the Cold War.
William Hitchcock Truman Library Institute
Places, dates, and times for Will Hitchcock's national book tour to promote "The Age of Eisenhower"