Walter Laqueur

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Walter Laqueur
Born(1921-05-26)26 May 1921
Died30 September 2018(2018-09-30) (aged 97)
OccupationHistorian and political commentator
AwardsGuggenheim Memorial Foundation (1970),
Inter Nationes (1984),
Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (1985),
Ph.D. h.c. mult.

Walter Ze'ev Laqueur (26 May 1921 – 30 September 2018) was a German-born American historian, journalist and political commentator. He was an influential scholar on the subjects of terrorism and political violence.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Walter Laqueur was born in Breslau, Lower Silesia, Germany (today Wrocław, Poland), into a Jewish family. In November 1938 he left Germany, immigrating to the British Mandate of Palestine. His parents, who were unable to leave, were murdered in the Holocaust. After less than a year at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he left to work as an agricultural laborer and guard. In 1942 he became a member of kibbutz HaZore'a.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Laqueur was married to Naomi Koch, with whom he had two daughters. His second wife was Christa Susi Genzen.[4]

Journalism and academic career[edit]

From 1944, when he moved to Jerusalem, until his departure in 1955 he worked as a journalist for the Hashomer Hatzair newspaper, Mishmar (later, Al HaMishmar),[5] and for The Palestine Post (later, The Jerusalem Post). In addition, he was the Middle East correspondent for journals in the United States and a commentator on world politics for Israel radio.[6]

After moving to London, Laqueur founded and edited Soviet Survey, a journal focusing on Soviet and East European culture. Survey was one of the numerous publications of the CIA-funded Congress for Cultural Freedom to counter Soviet Communist cultural propaganda in the West.

Laqueur was Director of the Institute of Contemporary History and the Wiener Library in London from 1965 to 1994. Together with George Mosse, he founded and edited Journal of Contemporary History. From 1969 he was a member, and later Chairman (until 2000), of the International Research Council of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington. He was the founding editor of The Washington Papers. He was Professor of the History of Ideas at Brandeis University from 1968 to 1972, and at Georgetown University from 1976 to 1988. He was also a visiting professor of history and government at Harvard, the University of Chicago, Tel Aviv University and Johns Hopkins University.[7]

Laqueur wrote extensively about the Middle East, the German Youth Movement, Zionism, the cultural history of the Weimar Republic, Communism and the Soviet Union, the Holocaust, the Cold War, fascism, post-World War II Europe and the decline of Europe. He pioneered the study of guerrilla warfare and terrorism. After the fall of the Soviet Union, he predicted that Russia would not become a democracy but an authoritarian system based on nationalist populism. His books and articles, which were published in many American and Europeans newspapers and periodicals, have been translated into several languages.


Laqueur died at his home in Washington, D.C., on September 30, 2018.[8]

Selected works[edit]




Further reading[edit]

  • Andreas W. Daum, "Refugees from Nazi Germany as Historians: Origins and Migrations, Interests and Identities," The Second Generation: Émigrés from Nazi Germany as Historians. With a Biobibliographic Guide, ed. Andreas W. Daum, Hartmut Lehmann, and James J. Sheehan. New York: Berghahn Books, 2016, ISBN 978-1-78238-985-9, 1‒52.


  1. ^ Hoffman, Bruce (2011). "In Celebration of Walter Laqueur's 90th Birthday: Reflections on His Contributions to the Study of Terrorism and Guerrilla Warfare". Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. 34 (9): 667–671. doi:10.1080/1057610x.2011.594942. ISSN 1057-610X. S2CID 108760988.
  2. ^ Hoffman, Bruce (2 November 2018). "Walter Laqueur, 26 May 1921–30 September 2018". Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. 41 (11): 847–849. doi:10.1080/1057610x.2018.1532175. ISSN 1057-610X.
  3. ^ Andreas W. Daum, Hartmut Lehmann, James J. Sheehan (eds.), The Second Generation: Émigrés from Nazi Germany as Historians. With a Biobibliographic Guide. New York: Berghahn Books, 2016, ISBN 978-1-78238-985-9 2, 8, 15, 23‒24, 30‒31, 34, 36, 162‒3, 177‒206, 399‒402 (including a short biography and a bibliography).
  4. ^ Jewish Chronicle obituary: Walter Laqueur
  5. ^ Walter Laqueur, obituary
  6. ^ Biography Archived 18 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Walter Laqueur, "A Wanderer between Several Worlds", in The Second Generation: Émigrés from Nazi Germany as Historians, 59‒71.
  8. ^ Langer, Emily (30 September 2018). "Walter Laqueur, eminent scholar who probed the 20th century, dies at 97". Washington Post. Washington, DC. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  9. ^ Balint, Benjamin. "The Metropolis of Monotheisms." Review of Dying for Jerusalem by Walter Laqueur. Wall Street Journal, March 9, 2006. Archived from the original.
  10. ^ Harris, Ken. Reviews of Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century by Mark Leonard; The Last Days of Europe by Walter Laqueur. FUTUREtakes, Vol. 7, No. 1, Spring-Summer 2008, pp. 1-4.

External links[edit]