Dr Kristina Spohr is a specialist in the International History of Germany since 1945 and interested in the theory and practice of Contemporary History. She is now researching and writing on the global exit from the Cold War 1989-1992 - with the financial support of The Leverhulme Trust.
She is author of The Global Chancellor: Helmut Schmidt and the Reshaping of the International Order (Oxford University Press, 2016) and its extended German edition Helmut Schmidt: Der Weltkanzler (Theiss, 2016) as well as lead-author of a co-edited volume Transcending the Cold War: Summits, Statecraft, and the Dissolution of Bipolarity in Europe, 1970-1990 (Oxford University Press, 2016).
Dr Kristina Spohr with Helmut Schmidt,
at his home in Hamburg-Langenhorn, 15.10.2015, ©kspohr-privat
Her previous books include Germany and the Baltic problem after the Cold War: The Development of a New Ostpolitik, 1989-2000 (London: Routledge, 2004; paperback 2013); Building Sustainable and Effective Capabilities: A Systemic Comparison of Professional and Conscript Forces (IOS Press, 2004 -- as editor and contributor); Journal of Contmporary History Special Issue: At the Crossroads of Past and Present — ‘Contemporary’ History and the Historical Discipline (London: Sage – vol. 46, 3 (2011 - as co-editor and contributor).
Dr Spohr gained her B.A. (1997) from the University of East Anglia - with a year abroad at Sciences Po, Paris - where she read European Studies, Economics, French. She then moved to Cambridge University where she completed her M.Phil. in Historical Studies (1998) and Ph.D. in History (2000) at Peterhouse. In 2001 she worked as a Research Fellow in the Secretary General’s Private Office at NATO headquarters in Brussels. She was a Junior Research Fellow in History at Christ's College, Cambridge (2001-4), before joining the LSE in 2004.
In 2003 she was the recipient of a €30,000 NATO grant (NATO Science Programme/NATO Public Diplomacy Division). In 2008 she was awarded grants amounting to £16,100 by the German Gerda Henkel Stiftung and the Journal of Contemporary History. In 2014 she won a British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grant and awards by LSE HEIF5, CRASSH, and the Cambridge University Mellon Fund amounting altogether to £21,000. In 2016, she was awarded a one-year Leverhulme Research Fellowship.
Dr Kristina Spohr usually teaches the following courses:
At undergraduate level:
HY116: International History since 1890 (taught jointly with other members of the Department)
HY320: The Cold War Endgame, 1975-1991
At Masters level:
HY432: From Cold Warriors to Peacemakers: The End of the Cold War Era, 1979-1997
Dr Spohr's former PhD students include Dr Elizabeth J. Benning (2011), Dr Eirini Karamouzi (2012), Dr Rui Lopes (2012), Dr Rita Augestad-Knudsen (2014) and Dr Zhong Z. Chen (2014).
In June 2016, Dr Kristina Spohr won an LSE Excellence in Education Award. Designed to support the School’s aspiration of creating ‘a culture where excellence in teaching is valued and rewarded on a level with excellence in research’ (LSE Strategy 2020), the Excellence in Education Awards are made, on the recommendations of Heads of Department, to staff who have demonstrated outstanding teaching contribution and educational leadership in their departments.
Dr Kristina Spohr and Professor David ReynoldsInterviewed by Cambridge TV on the 30th Anniversary of the Reykjavik Summit
In an interview for Cambridge TV, broadcast on 24 October 2016, Dr Kristina Spohr and Professor David Reynolds (University of Cambridge) challenged the conventional interpretation of the Reykjavik Summit as an historic missed opportunity and argued that Reykjavik helped bring about real commitment to nuclear disarmament. They claimed it was one of several meetings between world leaders that helped bring the Cold War to a peaceful end. Their view is the focus of their new edited book, Transcending the Cold War: Summits, Statecraft, and the Dissolution of Bipolarity in Europe, 1970-1990, released by Oxford University Press in September 2016.
Watch the full interview
Dr Kristina Spohr on the "New Cold War” and the Importance of Remembering the Reykjavik Summit Thirty Years On
Dr Kristina Spohr, our expert on Cold War summitry and the end of the Cold War, has contributed an article to The Conversation
with Professor David Reynolds (University of Cambridge). The article, published online on 19 October 2016, suggests a diplomatic solution to the current US-Russian standoff, based on the lessons learned from the era of détente and the end of the Cold War in the 1970s and 1980s. In particular, the role of international statecraft and personal dialogue between leaders. Here, the Reykjavik summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev is mentioned, as well as Helmut Schmidt’s “Dialogpolitik”. Read the article, "Thirty years on as ‘new Cold War’ looms, US and Russia should remember the Rekyjavik summit", here
. The Conversation
is an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic and research community and delivered direct to the public. The Conversation was launched in Australia in March 2011 and in the UK in May 2013.
Dr Kristina Spohr's Helmut Schmidt: Der Weltkanzler Given a 5-Star Review by Kultur Radio
On 11 October 2016, Dr Kristina Spohr’s latest book, Helmut Schmidt: Der Weltkanzler (Thesis, 2016) was introduced and reviewed by Eckard Stuff for the German radio station, Kultur Radio. In her book, which is an extended German edition of The Global Chancellor published earlier in the year by Oxford University Press, Dr Spohr looks at at Schmidt's foreign policy and examines his role in reshaping the global order during the crisis-ridden 1970s. Mr Stuff gives it a five star review. "The most important finding of the book is that Schmidt succeeded in raising the international importance of the Federal Republic. His successors have profited from it."
Read and listen to the full review here (in German).
Dr Krisinta Spohr in the New Statesman
Dr Kristina Spohr
contributed an article with Professor David Reynolds (Professor of International History, University of Cambridge) to the New Statesman
, Britain's current affairs and politics magazine. The article is titled “Speaking the Unspeakable” and was published on 10 October 2016. In their article, Dr Spohr and Professor Reynolds address the “enormous missed opportunity” that was the Reykjavik summit and the need to revise this negative view of the summit thirty years on. Armed with recently released transcripts of the meetings, as well as other documents from both the Russian and the American archives, the scholars argue that out of the failure of the Reykjavik summit a new order was built.Read the full article for free here
Dr Kristina Spohr in the Rheinische Post Newspaper
On 23 September, Dr Kristina Spohr was featured in the “Duesseldorf – Talk of the Town” section of the German-speaking Rheinische Post newspaper. In an article, titled “Kristina Spohr Presents Book on Helmut Schmidt”, she talks about the genesis of her newest book, Helmut Schmidt: Der Weltkanzler (an extended German edition of her previously published The Global Chancellor: Helmut Schmidt and the Reshaping of the International Order) as well as her ongoing book tour, which has taken her to several cities, including Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin and Brussels. Read the full article here here (in German).
Dr Kristina Spohr on History Extra Podcast: Cold War Summits
Dr Kristina Spohr and Professor David Reynolds were on History Extra Podcast, the podcast of BBC History Magazine, on 15 September 2016, to discuss their new book about the postwar meetings between international leaders that aimed to control the nuclear arms race. Listen to the podcast here. Dr Kristina Spohr and Professor David Reynolds are the editors of Transcending the Cold War: Summits, Statecraft, and the Dissolution of Bipolarity in Europe, 1970-1990 (OUP). The book is the first study on the contribution of summit meetings to the peaceful dénouement of the Cold War. Itanalyses the relationships between the superpowers and their views on arms control, explores their triangular relationship with China, and raises the German question. It is a major multinational study, based on archives from both sides of the 'Iron Curtain'. Purchase the book here.
Listen to the podcast
Press Coverage of Dr Kristina Spohr's Helmut Schmidt: Der Weltkanzler
Dr Kristina Spohr did the rounds of the German press to introduce her newest book, Helmut Schmidt: Der Weltkanzler (Theiss), to the German public. On 14 September, Dr Spohr was interviewed by the German radio station SWR2 for the programme Journal am Mittag: Kulturgespraeche. Listen to the interview on SWR2 here (in German). On the day of the book's release, 15 September, the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper published a feature piece about her research (incl. in Schmidt’s private archive), and her interpretation of the former Chancellor’s late seventies foreign policy. Read the interview in the Hamburger Abendblatt here (in German and with subscription) or here (JPG format).
©Marcelo Hernandez/ Hamburger Abendblatt
On the same day, she was also interviewed by the German TV station, SAT 1 Regional (Norddeutschland), on occasion of her book launch, which took place in Hamburg and featured former Federal Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück, former Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen (Finland) and First Mayor of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz. Watch it here.
Watch Dr Kristina Spohr on SAT.1 Regional (in German)
Dr Kristina Spohr's Book Launch: Helmut Schmidt, Der Weltkanzler, 15 September
Dr Kristina Spohr’s newest book, Helmut Schmidt: Der Weltkanzler, was launched on Thursday, 15 September, in Hamburg. Der Weltkanzler is the extended German edition of her book, Helmut Schmidt: The Global Chancellor, published earlier in the year by the Oxford University Press. The book launch for Der Weltkanzler was organised by the Helmut and Loki Schmidt Foundation in cooperation with Die Zeit and Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft (WBG). The event, fully booked, featured a panel discussion with former Federal Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück and former Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen (Finland). The panel was moderated by Matthias Nass (Die Zeit) and the book was introduced by the First Mayor of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz. Read more about Der Weltkanzler’s book launch here (in German).
Dr Kristina Spohr's Helmut Schmidt: Der Weltkanzler Out Now
Dr Kristina Spohr
’s latest book, Helmut Schmidt: Der Weltkanzler
, published by Theiss Verlag, was released on 15 September 2016. Der Weltkanzler
is the extended German edition of The Global Chancellor
, published earlier in the year by Oxford University Press. In her book, Dr Spohr portraits Helmut Schmidt and his foreign policy views in the troubled 1970s in a new light. The result is a portrait of a "world Chancellor" who was well versed in global economic and security issues alike. Dr Spohr’s book relies on extensive research conducted in Schmidt's private archives and in numerous archives in Europe and the US. Her argument is supplemented by personal interviews with the former chancellor. It arises from a new and dense political portrait of the Global Chancellor in the context of his time.
Transcending the Cold War: The Power of Summits
On occasion of their new edited book’s release, Dr Kristina Spohr and Professor David Reynolds
(University of Cambridge) contributed a post to the Oxford University Press blog, entitled “When to talk and when to walk”
. The post delves on the importance, meaning and historical transformative power of summits and dialogpolitik.“Summitry”, Dr Spohr and Professor Reynolds argue in their post, “involves nerve-wracking judgement-calls for leaders: it requires hard calculations about opportunity, timing and personality – as challenging in the era of Merkel and Putin as in the days of Nixon and Brezhnev or Reagan and Gorbachev. Parleying at the summit is a matter of vision and skill, nerve and guts. Yet for those who are successful there is, perhaps, the chance to become a Maker of History. Here lies the perennial and fateful attraction of summitry.” Dr Spohr and Professor Reynolds new edited book, Transcending the Cold War: Summits, Statecraft, and the Dissolution of Bipolarity in Europe, 1970-1990
, was released on 1 September. Purchase the book here
Dr Kristina Spohr on Transcending the Cold War for the British Academy Podcast
Dr Kristina Spohr and her co-editor, Professor David Reynolds, talked about their new book, Transcending the Cold War: Summits, Statecraft, and the Dissolution of Bipolarity in Europe, 1970-1990
(Oxford University Press, 2016) with Bridget Kendall for the British Academy podcast. The podcast was released on the eve of the book's publication, 1 September 2016. Listen to the podcast here
. Read more about Transcending the Cold War here
Transcending the Cold War Out Now
Dr Kristina Spohr’s latest book, Transcending the Cold War: Summits, Statecraft, and the Dissolution of Bipolarity in Europe, 1970–1990
, edited with Professor David Reynolds, was published by Oxford University Press on 1 September. As described by OUP, "the manuscript is a major multinational study, based on archives from both sides of the 'Iron Curtain’. It highlights the contribution of international statecraft to the peaceful dissolution of Europe's bipolar order by examining pivotal summit meetings from 1970 to 1990. (...) Written in lively prose, Transcending the Cold War
is essential reading for anyone interested not just in modern history but also current international affairs!" Purchase the book here
. Transcending the Cold War
is Dr Kristina Spohr’s second book published this year. She is also the author of The Global Chancellor: Helmut Schmidt and the Reshaping of the International Order
(Oxford University Press, 2016). Its extended German editionHelmut Schmidt: Der Weltkanzler
(Theiss) will be coming out soon.
Dr Kristina Spohr Interviewed for the Literaturtest Blog
On 19 August 2016, in an exclusive interview for the Literaturtest blog, Dr Kristina Spohr answered questions about Helmut Schmidt, the subject of her new book The Global Chancellor
(2016, OUP) and its extended German edition, Der Weltkanzler
(Theiss Verlag), out on 12 September. She also talked about meeting the former chancellor in person and her view on what Schmidt would think of the Brexit referendum. Read the full interview here
Dr Kristina Spohr Awarded Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship
Dr Kristina Spohr
has been awarded a one-year Leverhulme Research Fellowship
to work on her next book with the working title 'A Conservative Revolution: 1989-1992 in Global Perspective’. This book will offer a fundamental reappraisal of how in 1989-92 the map of Europe was transformed and how the world exited the global Cold War. The project is of real topical urgency because the new international order that emerged after the Soviet Union disintegrated has remained with us to the present day, but is now under serious challenge, especially in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia.
Dr Kristina Spohr at the German Embassy to Talk about her Latest Book
At the invitation of the German Ambassador, Dr Peter Ammon, Dr Kristina Spohr was at the German Embassy in London on 12 May 2016 to talk about her book, Helmut Schmidt: The Global Chancellor, with Quentin Peel, former Foreign Editor of the Financial Times. Dr Spohr’s book, published by Oxford University Press earlier this year and can be purchased here. Read more about the event in the German Embassy in London website.
Photo credit: @GermanEmbassy and @eevriviades
Dr Kristina Spohr on the Schmidt-Carter Non-Relationship in the OUP Blog
In an article published by the the Oxford University Press’s blog on 26 April, Dr Kristina Spohr explains how the Schmidt-Carter non-relationship “strained to the limit the bond between West Germany and America”. Her analysis, entitled “A Prickly Pair: Helmut Schmidt and Jimmy Carter”, shows why Schmidt and Carter’s relationship was soured from the beginning, marking an exception in the “chancellor’s modus operandi in international politics, which privileged the importance of reliable ‘political friendships.’” Read her article here
Dr Kristina Spohr on Genscher in the European Politics and Policy LSE Blog
On 18 April, Dr Kristina Spohr contributed a post to the EUROPP LSE Blog, called “A reminder of the road not taken: Hans-Dietrich Genscher and the holy grail of a united Europe". In her post, she writes about the career of the late Hans-Dietrich Genscher, West Germany’s longest serving foreign minister and vice-chancellor, his role in unifying Germany, and his ultimate aspiration to integrate both NATO and the Warsaw Pact into an all-European security order that incorporated the Soviet Union. Read the full post here
The Global Chancellor to be published in German
Dr Kristina Spohr’s book, The Global Chancellor: Helmut Schmidt and the Reshaping of the International Order, will be made available in German by Theiss on 15 September 2016. The book will be entitled Helmut Schmidt: Der Weltkanzler. Read more about the German edition in Theiss’s website.
Watch Dr Spohr talking about her book (in German)
Dr Kristina Spohr on Cambridge TV on the Late Hans-Dietrich Genscher, German Foreign Minister (1974-1992)
On Friday, 8 April 2016, Dr Kristina Spohr was on Cambridge TV News. She gave a 10-minute long interview on Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the former German Foreign Minister (1974-1992), who passed away on 31 March 2016. Watch the interview here.
The Global Chancellor's Book Launch
Dr Kristina Spohr’s book launch took place on Wednesday, 6 April 2016, at the European Parliament. The event was hosted by the MEPs Jakob von Weizsaecker and Knut Fleckenstein. The Global Chancellor was published by Oxford University Press in March. In her book, Dr Spohr retrieves Chancellor Helmut Schmidt’s true significance as a pivotal figure who helped reshape the global order during the crisis-ridden 1970s. This major reinterpretation, based on detailed research in Schmidt's private papers and numerous archives in Europe and America, reveals him as a leader equally skilled in economics and security, and adept at personal diplomacy, who dared to act as a 'double interpreter' between the superpowers during the nadir of the Cold War. Read more about The Global Chancellor in the OUP's website. Buy the book here.
New Book by Dr Kristina Spohr, The Global Chancellor
Dr Kristina Spohr
’s much anticipated book, The Global Chancellor: Helmut Schmidt and the Reshaping of the International Order
, was published on 24 March 2016 by Oxford University Press. Her new book is the first major study in English of Schmidt's foreign policy and its intellectual roots. It shows Schmidt as a 'global chancellor', engaging with major world leaders such as Kissinger. It combines biography, economic history, and security studies. It contributes to current debate on the Cold War and globalization in the 1970s; and it presents a multi-national approach, based on numerous archives in five countries, including Schmidt's own private papers. Read all about The Global Chancellor
in the OUP's website
. Order it here
Dr Kristina Spohr on Meeting Helmut Schmidt
Dr Kristina Spohr has contributed a post to the Oxford University Press Blog (17 March) on "Meeting Helmut Schmidt: The Man Behind the Statesman". Her book, The Global Chancellor
, is published by Oxford University Press and comes out on 24 March. In this post, Dr Spohr offers the reader a fascinating glance into her research and the man she places at the centre of her manuscript. Read the full post here
Dr Kristina Spohr on BBC Radio 4
On 16 February 2016, Dr Spohr was on BBC Radio 4's Making History programme. At a time when historians are taking more and more interest in the end of the Cold War, with their research aided by the opening up of archives in the former Eastern Bloc countries, Helen Castor met up with Professor David Reynolds from the University of Cambridge and Dr Kristina Spohr to discuss history of the Cold War. Their new edited book, Transcending the Cold War (OUP) will be published in September 2016. Listen to Dr Kristina Spohr from 07m15s.
Dr Kristina Spohr Co-Presents "Secrets of the Cold War" History Series on German TV ZDF
Dr Kristina Spohr was a co-presenter in the 5-part TV series 'Secrets of the Cold War’ (Geheimnisse des Kalten Krieges) on the German TV channel ZDFinfo, first aired on 27 and 28 December 2015. Watch part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5 of the TV series currently available on live stream.
Dr Kristina Spohr Interviewed by L.I.S.A.
Dr Kristina Spohr was interviewed about the late former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt for L.I.S.A, the Science Portal of the Gerda Henkel Foundation, on 24 November 2015. The interview, which can be read here
, is in German and is entitled: "Helmut Schmidt hat Weltpolitik betrieben”. The Department of International History and and the Gerda Henkel Foundation co-operate to host the yearly Gerda Henkel Visiting Professorship which aims to promote awareness in Britain of German research on the history of the German Federal Republic and the German Democratic Republic, and to stimulate comparative work on German history in a European context.
Dr Kristina Spohr on Helmut Schmidt's Death in the Guardian and in the German and Finnish Press
Dr Kristina Spohr, our expert in International History of Germany since 1945, marked the death of Chancellor Schmidt on 10 November 2015 with an opinion article in the Guardian. In her article, entitled "Helmut Schmidt – a German leader with a global vision
", Dr Spohr claimed "his reputation is understated at home, but the West German chancellor’s brilliance on the world stage made him one of Europe’s greatest leaders”. "As a historian I would argue that Schmidt, who was chancellor from 1974 to 1982, ranks alongside the best global leaders. Schmidt’s achievements were not so much in the national arena but as what I have called a “global chancellor”. "Helmut Schmidt deserves to be remembered as West Germany’s “global chancellor”. Dr Spohr, who was with Helmut Schmidt in October 2015, explains the concept of Helmut Schmidt as a "Global Chancellor" in her upcoming book published by Oxford University Press, called The Global Chancellor: Helmut Schmidt and the Reshaping of the International Order
. Her book will come out in March 2016 and can be pre-ordered at Amazon
. Dr Spohr's reference to Helmut Schmidt as "the global chancellor" has been referenced extensively in the German media. Namely in the Der Spiegel
, Express, Focus Magazine
(online video), web.de
, Hamburger Abendblatt
and in the Westdeutsche Zeitung
. She also wrote a commentary for the Finnish newspaper, Iltalehti
Dr Kristina Spohr at the Churchill College's Political Leadership Symposium
Dr Kristina Spohr, our specialist in the International History of Germany since 1945, participated in the The Challenge of Political Leadership Symposium
on Friday, 13 November 2015, at Churchill College, University of Cambridge. This one day symposium sought to look at the challenge of understanding, assessing and improving political leadership. It sought to bring together historians and political scientists with politicians and practitioners in a multidisciplinary and cross party approach. British Labour politician, Lord Peter Mandelson, and former Secretary of State for Education and Home Secretary, The Right Honourable Charles Clarke, were the keynote speakers. The event was a collaboration between the Churchill Archives Centre, The Møller Centre, Cambridge University Department of Politics and International Studies and the Faculty of History.
Dr Spohr's participation at the Symposium. Watch
Dr Spohr give an interview to Cambridge TV about the Challenge of Political Leadership.
Dr Kristina Spohr in The Guardian
Dr Kristina Spohr and Professor Christopher Clark wrote a comment for The Guardian, published in May 2015. The comment entitled "Moscow’s account of Nato expansion is a case of false memory syndrome" asserts that it's time for a reality check. "Russia’s grievances today rest on a narrative of past betrayals, slights and humiliations". The comment can be read here
Beyond the Cold War: how summits shaped the new world order
The seventh LSE Works lecture took place on Thursday 5 March and was given by LSE International History’s Dr Kristina Spohr on ‘Beyond the Cold War: how summits shaped the new world order’.
The respondents were Rodric Braithwaite GCMG, a British diplomat and author; Roderic Lyne, Deputy Chairman of Chatham House and Adviser, Russia and Eurasia Programme, and Arne Westad, Professor of International History at LSE and Director of LSE IDEAS. The event was chaired by Professor Stuart Corbridge, Deputy Director and Provost of LSE.
LSE Works is a series public lectures that will showcase some of the latest research by LSE's academic departments and research centres. In each session, LSE academics present key research findings, demonstrating where appropriate the implications of their studies for public policy.
Listen to the podcast or watch the lecture here.
Funding Success for Dr Kristina Spohr's Cold War Summitry
Dr Kristina Spohr, Deputy Head of the International History Department is lead-author of a book entitled Cold War Summitry: Transcending the Division of Europe, 1970-1990
, for which she has a contract with Oxford University Press.
She is collaborating on this project with Professor David Reynolds (Cambridge University), with whom she has recently won a British Academy/ Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grant as well as getting awards from LSE HEIF5 (Knowledge Exchange), and Cambridge University's CRASSH (Centre for research in the arts, social sciences and humanities) and Mellon Fund, amounting overall to £ 21,000.
This is to hold a conference
on the book at Cambridge University (22-23 Sept. 2014) and a practitioners seminar at the FCO, London (24 Sept. 2014). A document collection of ca. 100 digitised government sources from Germany, Britain, France, America, Russia and China will be made publicly available after the conference by the National Security Archive
in Washington D.C.
Spohr Invited to Speak at the 2014 Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s Conference
Dr Kristina Spohr, Deputy Head of the International History Department, was an invited guest speaker at the Petersberg in Königswinter on 5 February. She gave a lecture entitled ‘"Die deutsch-amerikanische Sicherheitspolitik in der Phase der Wiedervereinigung 1989/90"
,or "A story of German International Emancipation through Political Unification" as part of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s conference "Die Ära Kohl im Gespräch". Fellow lecturers included former chancellor Helmut Kohl’s national security advisor Horst Teltschik and former U.S. president George H.W. Bush’s national security advisor General Brent Scowcroft. More