Timothy Garton Ash

Senior Fellow

Timothy Garton Ash, an internationally acclaimed contemporary historian whose work has focused on Europe’s history since 1945, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. Garton Ash is in residence at Hoover on a part-time basis; he continues his work as professor of European studies and the Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St. Antony's College, Oxford University.

Among the topics he has covered are the liberation of Central Europe from communism, Germany before and after its reunification, how countries deal with a difficult past, and the European Union’s relationships with partners including the United States and rising non-Western powers such as China. His current research focuses on global free speech in the age of the Internet and mass migration (see the 13-language interactive Oxford University project www.freespeechdebate.com).

His most recent book is Free Speech: Ten Principles For A Connected World (2016), and he edited Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-Violent Action from Gandhi to the Present (2009). His previous books include Facts Are Subversive: Political Writing from a Decade without a Name (2010); Free World: America, Europe and the Surprising Future of the West (2004); The File: A Personal History (1998); In Europe's Name: Germany and the Divided Continent (1993); The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of 1989 as Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague (1990); The Polish Revolution: Solidarity, 1980–82 (1983); and Und Willst Du Nicht Mein Brüder Sein.

Garton Ash is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Historical Society, and the Royal Society of Arts and has received numerous honors and awards, including the Somerset Maugham Award, the George Orwell Prize, the Order of Merit from Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic, and honorary doctorates from St. Andrew's University and the Catholic University of Leuven.

He writes a regular column in the Guardian, which is widely syndicated in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. He is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books.

Garton Ash, who holds a BA and MA in modern history from the University of Oxford, did graduate studies at St. Antony's College, Oxford, at the Free University in West Berlin, and at Humboldt University in East Berlin.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

On The Streets Of A Marginal Seat, I’ve Seen How Remain Disunity Could Seal Brexit

by Timothy Garton Ashvia The Guardian
Sunday, December 8, 2019

In Putney, Labour and the Lib Dems are canvassing hard. Without tactical voting here and elsewhere, both will lose out.

Andrew Nagorski at the Berlin Wall, early 1990, shortly after it fell

Timothy Garton Ash: ‘Ideological Competition Is Actually Good For Us’

interview with Timothy Garton Ashvia Transitions Online
Friday, November 29, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Timothy Garton Ash discusses 1989, and looks at the major events of that year, including the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Tiananmen Square protests, and the breakup of Yugoslavia.


Angela Merkel Must Go – For Germany’s Sake, And For Europe’s

by Timothy Garton Ashvia The Guardian
Friday, November 22, 2019

If Germany is the heart of Europe, then it is currently the slow-beating heart of a well-fed businessman resting on his office couch after an ample lunch. For Europe’s sake, and for Germany’s own, that heart needs to beat a little faster.

The 30th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

The 30th Anniversary Of The Fall Of The Berlin Wall

featuring Peter M. Robinson, Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Kotkin, David Holloway, Timothy Garton Ash, Norman M. Naimark, Niall Ferguson, Robert Service, Victor Davis Hanson, Michael McFaul, Amir Weinervia Hoover Daily Report
Thursday, November 14, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Peter Robinson as well as many scholars and historians review the history of the Berlin Wall.

Revolutions in Eastern Europe: The Rise of Democracy, 1989–1990

Timothy Garton Ash: 1989 - The Greatest Year In European History?

interview with Timothy Garton Ashvia Mark Leonard's World in 30 Minutes
Friday, November 8, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Timothy Garton Ash discusses whether 1989 was the greatest year in European history as well as whether we are witnessing the decline of liberalism today. 

The Berlin Wall

Timothy Garton Ash: Witnesses To The Fall Of The Berlin Wall

interview with Timothy Garton Ashvia Daily Local News
Friday, November 8, 2019
Hoover Institution fellow Timothy Garton Ash discusses the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Fall Of The Wall And My Years As The Spectator’s Man Behind The Iron Curtain

by Timothy Garton Ashvia The Spectator
Monday, November 4, 2019

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was strictly optional. Most of the heroes of 1989 were middle-aged. The leaders of the velvet revolutions, the Vaclav Havels and Lech Walesas, had been through prison, tough times and many a defeat before this incredible victory. Sure, there were often students in the front line — blithe, unattached, unafraid; but what was most moving to me, as I talked to people in the crowds in Leipzig, Gdansk or Prague, were the older men and women who had endured so much and never believed they would see this day.


Democracy Is Under Attack In Post-Wall Europe – But The Spirit Of 1989 Is Fighting Back

by Timothy Garton Ashvia The Guardian
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and Europe’s velvet revolutions, a new generation is standing up to the populists.

Analysis and Commentary

Time For A New Liberation?

by Timothy Garton Ashvia The New York Review of Books
Thursday, October 24, 2019

Prague, July 2019. I’m sitting with Ivan Havel in a cozy alcove of the Austro-Hungarian–themed Monarchie restaurant when Monika Pajerová arrives. A student leader in the Velvet Revolution and still bubbling with energy thirty years later, blond, bespectacled Monika takes a smartphone out of her handbag and scans the barcode on my bottle of mineral water. The phone buzzes and displays a green-ink caricature of Andrej Babiš, the agribusiness oligarch and former secret police informer who is now the Czech prime minister. Beneath his frowning face are the words “Bez Andreje” (loosely translatable as “does not contain Andrej”), indicating that this bottled water is not a product of any of his companies. “It’s all right,” says Monika, “you can drink it!”

Analysis and Commentary

Europe Is Fed Up With Brexit, But It’s Still Best For All If Britain Stays In

by Timothy Garton Ashvia The Guardian
Sunday, October 20, 2019

Macron may have doubts, but if the deal isn’t approved the EU must grant the UK an extension – for its own sake as well as ours.