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Timothy Snyder

“Tim Snyder has revolutionized our understanding of Central and Eastern European history in the 20th century."
Prof Arne Westad

Timothy Snyder is an expert on Eastern European history and the Holocaust.

In his time as Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs, Professor Snyder explored how we understand Eastern European history.

How did Eastern European states begin? What was the impact of Marxism and can national histories help us to understand the Holocaust?


The Origins of the Nations: the Brotherlands Hypothesis

Why do we have nations at all? And why do we have the nations that we have?  

Timothy Snyder tells the story of brothers from important families who chose different nationalities and led rival national movements to provide a new perspective on the question of ‘motherlands’ and ‘fatherlands’. 

Twitter: #LSENations / Listen: 

The Origins of the Revolution: Marx and Eastern Europe

Marx and Engels believed in liberating Eastern Europe from imperial rule in the nineteenth century but the twentieth century saw communist oppression in region.

Timothy Snyder discusses if Marxism was in any sense native to Eastern Europe and argues Poland’s Solidarity was the only working class revolution in the world. 

Twitter: #LSEMarx / Listen: 

The Origins of Mass Killing: the Bloodlands Hypothesis

At no other time in European history were so many human beings deliberately killed as a matter of policy as in Eastern Europe between 1933 and 1945. Most deliberate Soviet killing, and almost all deliberate Nazi killing, took place in this zone between Berlin and Moscow.

Timothy Snyder argues that if we can understand the totality of this catastrophe we will both better understand the two regimes and  be better prepared to understand its component parts, the most significant of which was the Holocaust of European Jews.  

Twitter: #LSEBloodlandsWatch / Listen:

The Origins of the Final Solution: Eastern Europe and the Holocaust

The Nazi Final Solution was implemented in occupied Poland and the occupied Soviet Union, in the lands that after the end of the war quickly fell behind the Iron Curtain. The opening of borders and archives has permitted a much fuller acquaintance with the victims of the Holocaust, the vast majority of whom were east European Jews.

Must the national history of eastern Europe collapse into nothing more than a prehistory of catastrophe or can a grounding in the national histories help us better discern the human causes of the Holocaust?

Watch / Listen:  

Black Earth: the Holocaust as History and Warning

In 2015, Timothy Snyder returned to IDEAS to speak at this event chaired by fellow Philippe Roman Chair Anne Applebaum. 

In this riveting lecture, Professor Snyder explained the role that the destruction of states played in the Holocaust and argued that we must try to understand the causes of violence to learn the lessons of history.

Twitter / Listen:


As Philippe Roman Chair, Professor Snyder taught a seminar entitled The Holocaust as Global History for LSE postgraduate students.

Timothy SynderAbout Timothy Snyder

Professor Snyder is currently the Bird White Housum Professor of History at Yale University, specialising in the political history of central and Eastern Europe as well as the Holocaust.

A prolific author, he has written five award-winning books including Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin, which has been awarded ten awards including the Emerson Prize in the Humanities and the Leipzig Award for European Understanding and was named on 12 book-of-the-year lists for 2010.

Professor Snyder received his doctorate from the University of Oxford in 1997 where he was a British Marshall Scholar. He has held fellowships in Paris and Warsaw and Harvard, where he was an Academy Scholar, and is a frequent guest at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.

He regularly takes part in conferences on Holocaust education and is a member of the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and sits on the advisory councils of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies.

Find out more on Timothy Synder's website.

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