Thomas Alan Schwartz
Distinguished Professor of History; Professor of Political Science; Professor of European Studies
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of History
Thomas Alan Schwartz is a historian of the foreign relations of the United States, with related interests in American politics, the history of international relations, Modern European history, and biography. His most recent book is Henry Kissinger and American Power: A Political Biography (Hill and Wang, 2020). The book has received considerable notice and acclaim. Harvard’s University’s Charles Maier has written: "Thomas Schwartz's superbly researched political biography reveals the brilliance, self-serving ego, and vulnerability of America's most remarkable diplomat in the twentieth century, even as it provides a history of U.S. engagement in global politics as it moved beyond bipolarity." Earlier in his career, Schwartz was the author of America’s Germany: John J. McCloy and the Federal Republic of Germany (Harvard, 1991), which was translated into German, Die Atlantik Brücke (Ullstein, 1992). This book received the Stuart Bernath Book Prize of the Society of American Foreign Relations, and the Harry S. Truman Book Award, given by the Truman Presidential Library. He is also the author of Lyndon Johnson and Europe: In the Shadow of Vietnam (Harvard, 2003), which examined the Johnson Administration’s policy toward Europe and assessed the impact of the war in Vietnam on its other foreign policy objectives. He is the co-editor with Matthias Schulz of The Strained Alliance: U.S.-European Relations from Nixon to Carter, (Cambridge University Press, 2009).
Professor Schwartz has held fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the German Historical Society, the Norwegian Nobel Institute, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Center for the Study of European Integration. He has served as President of the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations. He served on the United States Department of State’s Historical Advisory Committee as the representative of the Organization of American Historians from 2005-2008. Professor Schwartz received The Madison Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching on April 3, 2013 at the Spring Faculty Assembly, Vanderbilt University. In 2008 Professor Schwartz received the Annual Alumni Education Award from the Vanderbilt Alumni Association. Schwartz is the recipient of the 2008 Book Award by Chi Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order. This award is given to a faculty member who has been particularly influential in the lives and education of members of KAO. Professor Schwartz presented, "The Arab Spring: Revolution in the Middle East," on April 19, 2011, as part of the Samuel L. Shannon Distinguished Lecture Series at Tennessee State University. Professor Schwartz has also presented lectures for the OAH Distinguished Lecturers Program.
Read about the controversy over the State Department’s Historian’s office and the “Foreign Relations of the United States” publication:
The New Yorker article, January 12, 2009, regarding Professor Schwartz’s dismissal from the historical Advisory Committee and two members’ resignations:
The Washington Post, June 8, 2009 article: The head of the State Department's Office of the Historian, Marc J. Susser, has been reassigned after an inspector general's investigation found "serious mismanagement for which the director must be held accountable."
Professor Schwartz taught for five years at Harvard University, and has been teaching at Vanderbilt since 1990. While at Vanderbilt he has developed courses dealing with the United States and the Vietnam War as well a course within Jewish Studies entitled, “Power and Diplomacy in the Modern Middle East.”