The Life and Ideas of Hans Morgenthau
About the Project
In the decades following the end of the Cold War, realists found themselves on the defensive, struggling to explain the United States’ unchallenged dominance and the growing influence of nonstate actors such as terrorists. Realism, however, has made a comeback, as the United States now finds itself in a classic geopolitical competition with China for power and influence. This project explores how the ideas of Hans Morgenthau, who introduced realism to Americans at the dawn of the Cold War, can help guide the United States through the emerging period of great power competition with China. It will culminate in a book entitled The Realist: The Life and Ideas of Hans Morgenthau, the first full treatment of Morgenthau's life. Morgenthau escaped Nazi Germany and found refuge in the United States, where he penned the most influential international relations book of his era that became required reading for generations of policymakers and scholars. The Realist will explore how the traumas of the first half of the twentieth century gave birth to Morgenthau’s realism, how realism shaped U.S. foreign policy at a critical juncture following World War II, and the lessons realism can offer for today’s world.