Isabel V. Hull

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Isabel Virginia Hull (born 1949) is John Stambaugh Professor Emerita of History and the former chair of the history department at Cornell University. She specializes in German history from 1700 to 1945, with a focus on sociopolitics, political theory, and gender/sexuality. Since January 2006, Hull has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Modern History.


Hull received her B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1970 and her Ph.D. from Yale University in 1978. She teaches courses on European fascism, World War I, German history 1648–present, and international law.


The position for which Hull is best known, embodied in her two most recent books, is that Germany before and during World War I was uniquely indifferent to international law among the great powers, and (contrary to many other historians) that its responsibility for bringing the war about was much greater than that of the Allied powers. For her last book A Scrap of Paper: Breaking and Making International Law During the Great War (2014) she earned some critical reviews, because she minimizes the consequences of the British blockade of Germany during World War I, which resulted in 400,000 casualties.[1] [2]

Michael Geyer of the University of Chicago has stated that "Isabel V. Hull is one of the most accomplished German historians and surely the best of her generation," and she has been described by VICE News as "one of America's leading scholars on the role of fascism in history."[3] She is a winner of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award and the Leo Gershoy Award (1996), is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been a Guggenheim Fellow and an Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung Research Fellow. In 2013, she was awarded the inaugural International Research Support Prize by the Max Weber Stiftung and the Historisches Kolleg.



  • The entourage of Kaiser Wilhelm II, 1888-1918. 1982.
  • Sexuality, State, and Civil Society in Germany, 1700-1815 (1996)
  • Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany (2005)
  • A Scrap of Paper: Breaking and Making International Law During the Great War (2014)

Book reviews[edit]

Year Review article Work(s) reviewed
2018 Hull, Isabel (April 26, 2018). "Anything can be rescinded". London Review of Books. 40 (8): 25–26. Hathaway, Oona & Scott Shapiro (2017). The internationalists and their plan to outlaw war. Allen Lane.

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