George Washington University Cold War Group (GWCW)

George Washington University
Cold War Group
Institute for European
and Eurasian Studies
Suite 412, 1957 E Street NW
Washington, DC 20052

Prof. Gregg Brazinsky


The core mission of the George Washington Cold War Group (GWCW) is to promote innovative research and teaching about the Cold War. The group focuses not only on the traditional military and strategic dimensions of Cold War history but also on the social and cultural impact of the conflict. We see the Cold War not simply as an ideological struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union but as a complex and multi-faceted event that influenced the lives of peoples throughout the globe in numerous and intricate ways. In past conferences and workshops it has engaged diverse issues including: the Cold War in Asia, the impact of the Cold War on decolonization, North Korean crises during the 1950s and 1960s, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. These activities shed light on how Cold War legacies – economic, political, psychological, military, and environmental – continue to affect public policy in many parts of the world.

Cold War Interests: 

| The GWU-LSE-UCSB Graduate Student Conference on the Cold War

The Graduate Student Conference on the Cold War is an annual event that rotates between GW, the London School of Economics (LSE), and the University of California-Santa Barbara. GWCW has played a role in organizing this event since 2002 and has received financial support from the Elliott School, the Institute for European and Eurasian Studies, the Columbian College of Arts and Science (CCAS), and the History Department. It invites Ph.D. students from around the world to present papers and receive feedback from peers and experts in their field. The most authoritative paper is published by LSE's prestigious journal Cold War History (in recent years one GW Ph.D. student won the prize and another was the runner up).  The conference helps to raise GW's profile in the field of Cold War Studies, in which it is now recognized as one of the leading institutions in the country.  It also helps to attract excellent students—many of whom serve as GTAs (Graduate Teaching Assistantships) in large Elliott School classes—to the History Department's Ph.D. program.

| The Summer Institute on Conducting Archival Research (SICAR)

SICAR was created in 2002 by Professor Hope M. Harrison with several faculties, including the current director, Gregg Brazinsky, playing important roles in providing content and organizing the program. During the last four years, Gregg Brazinsky organized the summer institute, building on the very strong basis established by Professor Harrison. Between 2003 and 2015 SICAR was supported by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The purpose of the institute is to provide students pursuing Ph.D. degrees in international history with hands on training and guidance for doing archival research. It connects some of the best young scholars, building collaborative networks. It also provides mentorship that helps to nurture high quality research. Many Ph.D. programs focus on introducing students to theory, historiography, and basic research methods, but they don't give their students as much practical advice about what to actually do when they visit archives. SICAR thus fills a pressing need in the profession.

| Workshops, Conferences, and Seminars

During the last fifteen years, GWCW has organized conferences and seminars on a wide array of issues. Some of the most significant have included: a three-day international conference held in Budapest in 2003 using newly available Eastern and Central European documents to shed light on the Cold War in Asia; two special Ph.D. student forums co-organized with East China Normal University and held in Shanghai and Washington; a seminar series that invited leading scholars of the Cold War from around the country to present their most recent work at GW; and a one-day work shop that explored several Cold War crises in North Korea.