COVID-19, and REOPENING UPDATES: Click Here for Additional Information and Resources.

Skip navigation

Mary Sarotte

Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Distinguished Professor of Historical Studies

Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs

  • +1(202) 663-5973
  • Campus Location: Washington DC
  • Office Location: BOB 520C


An expert in the history of international relations, Mary Elise Sarotte is the inaugural holder of the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Distinguished Professorship of Historical Studies. Most recently, she was the Dean’s Professor of History and Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern California (USC). She is also a research associate at Harvard University's Center for European Studies. Sarotte earned her AB in History and Science at Harvard and her PhD in History at Yale University. She is the author or editor of five books, including The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall and 1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe, both of which were selected as Financial Times Books of the Year, among other distinctions and awards. Following graduate school, Sarotte served as a White House Fellow, then joined the faculty of the University of Cambridge, where she received tenure before accepting an offer to return to the United States to teach at USC. Sarotte is a former Humboldt Scholar, a former member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She also serves on the board of the Willy Brandt Foundation in Berlin.

Sarotte, M. E. (2015). Collapse: The accidental opening of the Berlin Wall. New York: Basic Books.

Sarotte, M. E. (2014). 1989: The struggle to create post-cold war Europe. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press.

Sarotte, M. E. (2001). Dealing with the devil: East Germany, détente, and Ostpolitik, 1969-1973. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.





  • History

In the News

The future of Europe.

Michael Mandelbaum and Mary Elise Sarotte participated in Council on Foreign Relations webinar, 12/01

Should U.S. foreign policy focus on great-power competition?

Nora Bensahel, Hal Brands, Ho-Fung Hung, Vali Nasr, and Mary Elise Sarotte surveyed in Foreign Affairs, 10/13

How to enlarge NATO.

Mary Elise Sarotte interviewed on International Security Off the Page podcast, 1/15

The shoals of Ukraine.

Mary Elise Sarotte wrote in Foreign Affairs, 11/22

Pompeo tours sites where he served with NATO forces, as U.S. casts doubts over the alliance.

Mary Elise Sarotte and Kristina Spohr quoted in The Washington Post, 11/8

The ordinary people who brought down the Berlin Wall.

Mary Elise Sarotte wrote in The Wall Street Journal, 11/8

Brookings experts’ reading list on the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War.

Mary Elise Sarotte and Kristina Spohr cited by Brookings Institution, 11/6

The rise and accidental fall of the Berlin Wall.

Mary Elise Sarotte quoted in Johns Hopkins HUB, 11/5

Your interesting late summer foreign policy reads.

Mary Elise Sarotte cited in The Washington Post, 8/26

How to enlarge NATO: The debate inside the Clinton administration, 1993–95.

Mary Elise Sarotte wrote in International Security, 7/29

University-wide committee would bring consistency to faculty tenure decisions.

Mary Elise Sarotte cited in Johns Hopkins HUB, 4/2

The convincing call from Central Europe: Let us into NATO.

Mary Elise Sarotte wrote in Foreign Affairs, 3/12