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Democracy in Exile: Hans Speier and the Rise of the Defense Intellectual

Daniel Bessner
Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 3:30pm to 5:30pm

This talk analyzes the analyzes the career and influence of Hans Speier, a German exile from National Socialism, founder of the RAND Corporation, and policymaker in the executive branch and State Department. Speier serves as a window into the community of German-born foreign policy experts who during the Cold War founded elitist institutions whose members had little democratic accountability to the public.

Daniel Bessner is Assistant Professor in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. He received his Ph.D. in History from Duke University in 2013, and spent the 2013-2014 academic year as a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University’s Einaudi Center for International Studies. His research addresses U.S. foreign relations, cultural and intellectual history, U.S.-Europe relations, Jewish studies, and the history of the human sciences. His book manuscript, provisionally entitled Democracy in Exile: Hans Speier and the Rise of the Defense Intellectual, is under contract with the United States in the World series at Cornell University Press. His articles have appeared or will appear in several publications, including the Intellectual History Review, Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, Religions, Armed Forces & Society, and Terrorism and Political Violence. In 2014, the International Society for Intellectual History awarded him the Charles Schmitt Prize for Best Article by a young historian for an essay on Murray Rothbard and modern libertarianism. He can be reached at

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