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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

Bipartisan Disgust Could Save the Republic

U.S. News & World Report January 08, 2021
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."

Biden Deploys Obama to Campaign, Trump Sends His Children

Voice of America October 28, 2020
Days before the November 3 election, the campaigns of President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are making their last pitch to voters, sending high-profile surrogates including former President Barack Obama and the Trump family children. White House Correspondent Patsy Widakuswara has the story.

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

NPR August 25, 2020
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."

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

NBC News October 02, 2020
“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.”

Trump's Rose Garden Strategy Meets Biden's 'Less is More'

Voice of America July 17, 2020
Vanderbilt University presidential historian Thomas Schwartz said that Trump’s Rose Garden strategy is stylistically so different than that of past presidents that it's “jarring.” “It doesn't seem to fit into past presidents’ manners of doing it,” he added.

Public impeachment hearings resume

CTV News November 20, 2019
Thomas Schwartz on the President Trump impeachment inquiry

How This Impeachment Inquiry Differs From The Last 2

NPR October 31, 2019
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.

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

AP News October 05, 2019
“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.”

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

Business Insider September 23, 2019
"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."

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

USA Today July 23, 2019
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.