Harold James (historian)

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For other people of the same name, see Harold James (disambiguation).

Harold James (born 19 January 1956 in Bedford) is a renowned historian, specializing in the history of Germany and European economic history. James is a prolific author, having published dozens of books and articles in his field. He is currently a Professor of History at Princeton University as well as a Professor of International Affairs at the University's Woodrow Wilson School.


Harold James was born and raised in the United Kingdom. He attended the The Perse School in Cambridge. He completed his undergraduate education at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and received his Ph.D. at Peterhouse, Cambridge in 1982. At Cambridge University he received the Ellen MacArthur Prize for Economic History. He began teaching at Princeton in 1986. In 2004 the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C. awarded him the Helmut Schmidt Prize in Economic History. He serves on the editorial committee of the journal World Politics and is chairman of the Academic Council of The European Association for Banking and Financial History (EABH) e.V..

James is married to Marzenna Kowalik (1964 – ), a political scientist specializing in Polish-Soviet economic relations. They have three children. Marzenna James is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Politics at Princeton University.

German History[edit]

In the earlier part of his career, James focused on modern German history, particularly German financial history in the interwar era. Among his major contributions to the field are a detailed study of the Deutsche Bank, an examination of the role of the Reichsbank in seizing Jewish financial assets during the Nazi era, and a reappraisal of the peculiar nature of the German national identity. James' explanation of the evolution of the German identity places particular emphasis on an 'economic identity' which provided impetus for unification in the early 19th century.In 1992 he was appointed a member of the Independent Commission of Experts (ICE) which was set up by the Swiss parliament to examine the refugee policy of Switzerland during WWII as well as economic and financial relationships between Switzerland and Nazi Germany.


Harold James has written extensively on the economic implications of globalization, drawing comparisons with historical attempts at globalization which ended with the Great Depression in 1929. James argues the Great Depression must not be considered as only an American phenomenon, but instead as a global economic crisis. He examines the contemporary issues associated with globalization in the context of larger economic trends, which were disrupted by the World Wars and the Great Depression.


His publications include

  • Reichsbank and Public Finance in Germany, 1924-1933 (1985) ISBN 3-7819-0321-4
  • German Slump: Politics and Economics, 1924-1936 (1986) ISBN 0-19-821972-5
  • A German Identity, 1770-1990 (1989) ISBN 0-297-79504-X
  • Role of Banks in the Interwar Economy (Cambridge University Press, 1991) ISBN 0-521-39437-6
  • Review article: "The Prehistory of the Federal Republic," The Journal of Modern History Vol. 63, No. 1, March 1991
  • When the Wall Came Down (Routledge, 1992) ISBN 0-415-90589-3
  • Zerrissene Zwischenkriegszeit (1994) ISBN 3-7890-3367-7
  • International Monetary Cooperation Since Bretton Woods (Oxford University Press, 1996) ISBN 0-19-510113-8
  • Monetary and Fiscal Unification in Nineteenth Century Germany (1997) ISBN 0-88165-109-5
  • Third Reich: The Essential Readings (1999) ISBN 0-631-20700-7
  • Requiem auf eine Währung: die Mark, 1873-2001 (Stuttgart, 2001) ISBN 3-421-05568-8
  • The End of Globalization: Lessons from the Great Depression (Harvard University Press, 2001). ISBN 0-674-00474-4
  • Verbandspolitik im Nationalsozialismus, von der Interessenvertretung zur Wirtschaftsgruppe (München, 2001) ISBN 3-492-04335-6
  • Deutsche Bank and the Nazi economic war against the Jews (Cambridge, 2001) ISBN 0-521-80329-2
  • Enterprise in the Period of Fascism in Europe (ed) (Ashgate, 2002) ISBN 0-7546-0077-7
  • Interwar Depression in an International Context (2002) ISBN 3-486-56610-5
  • Europe Reborn: A History 1914-2000 (Pearson Longman, 2003) ISBN 0-582-21533-1
  • International Financial History in the Twentieth Century (2003) ISBN 0-521-81995-4
  • Nazi Dictatorship and the Deutsche Bank (Cambridge University Press, 2004) ISBN 0-521-83874-6
  • Family Capitalism: Wendels, Haniels, Falcks, and the Continental European Model (Harvard University Press, 2006) ISBN 0-674-02181-9
  • The Roman Predicament: How the Rules of International Order Create the Politics of Empire (Princeton University Press, 2006) ISBN 0-691-12221-0
  • The Creation and Destruction of Value: The Globalization Cycle (Harvard University Press, 2009) ISBN 0-674-03584-4
  • Krupp: A History of the Legendary German Firm. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012. ISBN 9780691153407

Harold James has also authored several dozen articles in professional journals on German economic history, globalization, and political economy.

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