Jefferson Adams

The Adda Bozeman Chair in International Relations

BA, Stanford University. PhD, Harvard University. Special interest in European political, diplomatic, and cultural history, with emphasis on modern Germany; visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace; author of Strategic Intelligence in the Cold War and Beyond and Historical Dictionary of German Intelligence; editor and translator of Beyond the Wall: Memoirs of an East and West German Spy; senior editor, International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence; member, American Council on Germany. SLC 1971–

Course Information

Current undergraduate courses

France and Germany in the 20th Century

Fall

“If France were married to a country,” one historian astutely observed, “it would be to Germany.” Bitter adversaries during the World War I, yet intimate partners in the European Union today, France and Germany have sustained one of the most complex and intriguing relationships during the past century. This course will examine the development of that relationship, looking carefully at the economic, political, and social conditions in both countries. As they each experienced a remarkable cultural efflorescence (albeit under quite different circumstances), we will also investigate the important role played by various writers and artists. The class assignments will rely not only on historical accounts but also on memoirs, biographies, novels, and films. A few of the main topics include: the legacy of World War I; the rise of totalitarian movements; the impact of World War II on ordinary citizens in both countries; the significance of leaders such as Philippe Pétain, Charles de Gaulle, Adolf Hitler, and Konrad Adenauer; the construction of the larger European community after 1945; and the impact of Germany’s reunification in 1990. For conference projects, students may select a historical figure or problem from either country; topics that embrace both France and Germany are especially encouraged.

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Related Cross-Discipline Paths

The Cold War in History and Film

Spring

The half-century conflict that developed between the United States and the Soviet Union—along with their respective allies—following the end of World War II manifested itself in many different spheres of life. This course will explore the integral role that film played on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Following an introductory survey of the main events of the Cold War, we will examine a series of major films—mostly in chronological order—focusing on the circumstances in which they were made and the larger historical themes that they contain. Various genres such as the rubble film, the thaw film, the Czech new wave, the spy film, the musical, and animation are also represented. A sampling of the syllabus includes The Murderers Are Among Us, The Cranes Are Flying, On the Waterfront, Man of Marble, East-West, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, and Goodbye Lenin! A short written assessment is required after each of the weekly screenings; supplementary readings will be assigned, as well, to aid our discussions. For conference, students are encouraged to investigate the work of an individual director during this era, the depiction of a specific Cold War event or issue in several films, or the national cinemas of countries, particularly in the Eastern bloc.

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Related Cross-Discipline Paths

Previous courses

Espionage in the 20th Century

Spring

What has been called the world’s second-oldest profession truly came of age in the present era. Never before have so many countries—ranging from superpowers to aspiring third-world regimes—invested such vast resources into the creation and maintenance of permanent intelligence organizations. This course will explore not only the reasons behind this major historical development but also the different branches of intelligence, specifically cryptography, covert action, estimates and analysis, and counterintelligence. Besides examining how espionage has influenced the larger course of events, we will discuss the ethical dilemma of a secret government agency operating within a democratic society and the obstacles in providing reliable intelligence for policymakers. Particular attention will be given to the Cold War conflict, as well as to the more recent War on Terrorism. Relying on a variety of sources and approaches, the class assignments will consist of autobiography, historical analysis, case studies, fictionalized accounts, and film. For conference, some past topics have included the evolution of the Mossad, the case of the double agent Robert Hanssen, the life and writings of Lawrence of Arabia, and women in the OSS. 

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Europe Since 1945

Fall

With the conclusion of the longest and most destructive war in modern history, the countries of Europe faced the formidable challenge of reconstructing their economies, societies, and national cultures. At the same time, a new conflict soon emerged in the form of a cold war—one supported by a massive number of nuclear weapons—and kept the continent divided into two hostile camps until the last decade of the century. This course will explore those critical years, beginning with the Yalta and Potsdam treaties, the Nuremberg and successor trials, and the Marshall Plan. Other key topics to be investigated include the rise of the European welfare state, the historic rapprochement between France and Germany, the process of decolonization, and the nonviolent 1989 revolutions in the Eastern bloc. Of major concern is the question of European unity and its prospects for realization in the present century, along with the transatlantic relationship with the United States particularly since the events of 9/11. We will also try to remain current with unfolding, present-day events. The lectures will be supplemented by various documentary films and attention to cultural developments, especially in the visual arts. The group conferences will focus on individual works by leading authors such as Hannah Arendt, George Orwell, Albert Camus, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and Milan Kundera.

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