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Thomas Schwartz

Distinguished Professor of History

Historian of U.S. foreign policy, international relations and U.S. presidencies.


Thomas Alan Schwartz is a historian of the foreign relations of the United States, with related interests in Modern European history and the history of international relations. He is the author of America’s Germany: John J. McCloy and the Federal Republic of Germany (Harvard, 1991). The book examines the “dual containment” policy of the United States in Germany, a policy which sought to integrate Germany into the West while using her resources and strength to contain the Soviet Union. 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. Schwartz is also the author of Lyndon Johnson and Europe: In the Shadow of Vietnam (Harvard, 2003), which examines 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's book, "Henry Kissinger and American Power," is forthcoming in Spring 2020. Schwartz 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 presented The 2010 Herbert S. Schell Annual Lecture in American History, "Henry Kissinger, Vietnam, and Iraq: The Problem of Realism in American Foreign Policy," on October 18, 2010.

Media Appearances

  • Biden Defiant on the End of the Afghanistan War

    "I think this was a disaster through and through, and could have been avoided. There was a political motivation to get out by the anniversary of 9/11," says Tom Schwartz, a Vanderbilt University history professor who has written extensively about the intersection of foreign policy and presidential politics.

    August 31st, 2021

  • Disunion haunts U.S. on its 245th birthday

    Vanderbilt University historian Thomas Alan Schwartz noted the country's challenges had changed since the tumultuous tenure of former President Donald Trump. "Our problems are really different now," he said. "I think Joe Biden's America is a calmer, gentler place."

    July 3rd, 2021

  • Both sides in Israel-Gaza conflict lay groundwork for victory narratives

    Thomas Alan Schwartz, professor of history and political science at Vanderbilt University, said the recent flare-up was a “depressing example of how … domestic politics” can drive a violent escalation.

    May 20th, 2021

  • Bipartisan Disgust Could Save the Republic

    As awful as Wednesday was, "I actually agree with the hypothesis that this is a real opportunity for him," says Tom Schwartz, a history professor at Vanderbilt University. "I think he can come in and appeal to unity, to the sense of wanting calm."

    January 8th, 2021

  • Republicans Blast Democrats As Socialists. Here's What Socialism Is

    The "S" word is a charge Republicans have leveled against Democrats for decades, says Thomas Alan Schwartz, a Vanderbilt University history and political science professor. "Democrats have tended, through regulation and other ways, to be more empowering of the federal government and in regulating the economy than the Republicans," Schwartz says, "and this has been called socialism."

    August 25th, 2020

  • Trump not the first president to be infected in a pandemic, Woodrow Wilson was in the same spot a century ago.

    “Wilson’s wife was able to conceal his illness by setting up a bubble around him,” Thomas Schwartz, a professor of history at Vanderbilt University, told NBC News. “They explained the disease as coming from overwork, something people would have believed as Wilson was known to be a workaholic.”

    October 2nd, 2020

  • How This Impeachment Inquiry Differs From The Last 2

    Thomas Schwartz, professor of history and political science at Vanderbilt University, on how the President Trump impeachment process compares to the process used with Presidents Clinton and Nixon.

    October 31st, 2019

  • GOP unlikely to reprise role it played in Nixon’s 1974 exit

    “He’d been proclaiming his innocence and suddenly they’ve got this evidence showing he’s been lying all this time,” said Thomas Schwartz, a history and political science professor at Vanderbilt University. “We don’t have the equivalent of that now.”

    October 5th, 2019

  • Trump will likely survive his primary challenge from Joe Walsh — but history suggests that it could hurt him in the general election

    "I find it hard to see him as a serious challenge, electorally at least," Vanderbilt University political science and history Professor Tom Schwartz said of Walsh in a Tuesday phone interview with Insider. "There's not a lot of room to run to Trump's right in a way that Walsh is trying to do," Schwartz said. "Where Walsh could be interesting is the fact that he is media-savvy and he might be able to provoke Trump ... and get a reaction from him."

    September 23rd, 2019

  • Former special counsel Robert Mueller's testimony, like his report, promises an ink-blot test for partisans

    President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have spent more than two years questioning the basis of the investigation derided as a witch hunt into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

    July 23rd, 2019


Ph.D., Harvard University

A.M., Harvard University

M.A., Oxford University

A.B., Columbia University


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