Timothy Garton Ash

Senior Fellow
Research Team: 

Timothy Garton Ash, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, is an internationally acclaimed contemporary historian whose work has focused on Europe’s history since 1945. Garton Ash is in residence at Hoover on a part-time basis; he continues his work as professor of European studies and as 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 reunification, how countries deal with a difficult past, global free speech in the age of the internet and mass migration (see the 13-language interactive Oxford University project Free Speech Debate), and the European Union’s relationships with partners, including the United States and rising non-Western powers such as China.  He is currently working on a history of contemporary Europe and leading a major research project at Oxford on Europe's past and future.

His most recent book is a new edition of The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of 1989 as Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague (originally published 1990), with a major new chapter covering developments in central Europe over the last 30 years. His previous books include Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World (2016), 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 Polish Revolution: Solidarity, 1980–82 (1983); and Und Willst Du Nicht Mein Brüder Sein (1981). He coedited Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-Violent Action from Gandhi to the Present (2009).

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. In 2017 he was awarded the prestigious International Charlemagne Prize of the City of Aachen.

He writes a regular column in the Guardian, which is widely syndicated in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. He is a regular contributor to other periodicals, including the Financial Times.

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


Timothy Garton Ash: From Bismarck To Merkel: Why German Chancellors Always Matter More Than We Expect

interview with Timothy Garton Ashvia POLITICO's Westminster Insider
Thursday, September 23, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Timothy Garton Ash recalls the great post-war chancellors who rebuilt and eventually reunified Germany, from Konrad Adenauer through to Helmut Kohl.

In the News

Will The German Elections Change The Dynamics Of The EU’s Rule Of Law Battle?

quoting Timothy Garton Ashvia Yahoo News
Wednesday, September 22, 2021

European Union issues have not been high on the campaign agenda in Germany, but the country's Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens have made clear that if either of them enters government, they will be more assertive on the bloc's rule of law problem.

Analysis and Commentary

In Germany’s Election, The Fate Of The EU Is At Stake

by Timothy Garton Ashvia The Guardian
Wednesday, September 15, 2021

After Merkel, the incoming coalition will have to prove that democracy can meet Europe’s great challenges


Viktor Orbán Is Having His Cake And Eating It - Timothy Garton Ash

interview with Timothy Garton Ashvia Euronews
Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Timothy Garton Ash discusses the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the European Union's values, the sovereignty of its member states and the politics of.

In the News

What If The United States Is No Longer This Saigon?

quoting Timothy Garton Ashvia Randrlife
Thursday, August 19, 2021

What if America Start will not come back? What will happen next? Is it time for China? Will Europe be the new leader of the free world? Or will it just be an old international mess?

Analysis and Commentary

America Will Never Be Back Like Before, But The World Still Needs Democratic Leadership

by Timothy Garton Ashvia The Guardian
Wednesday, August 18, 2021

In the aftermath of Biden’s Afghanistan debacle, we should consider the alternatives to a Washington-led order

In the News

Poland Turns Into Battleground For Freedom And Democracy

featuring Timothy Garton Ashvia Weekly Blitz
Monday, August 16, 2021

Is Polish democracy in danger? Many long-standing friends of post-Communist Poland think so. The distinguished Oxford academic Timothy Garton Ash tweeted earlier this week: “Pay attention. If the Polish parliament tomorrow passes law designed solely to destroy the independence of by far the most important (& US-owned) independent TV station TVN, Poland follows Hungary dismantling democracy inside a member state of the EU.”

Analysis and Commentary

Driving Toward Dependence: ‘Change Through Trade’ Is Dead, And The West Is Becoming Reliant On The East

by Timothy Garton Ashvia The Globe and Mail
Friday, August 6, 2021

[Subscription Required] On YouTube, you can watch a video clip of Volkswagen’s chief executive, Herbert Diess, denying that he knows what’s going on in Xinjiang. When the BBC correspondent interviewing him helpfully spells it out – “re-education camps” for one million Uyghurs – the VW boss responds: “I’m not aware of that.”

Analysis and Commentary

VW’s Dilemma In Xinjiang Shows How The West Is Headed For An Ethical Car Crash

by Timothy Garton Ashvia The Guardian
Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Europe and the US are economically dependent on China now – and ‘change through trade’ is no longer on the cards

“Pluralism Is the Lifeblood”

by Chris Walsh, William McKenzie interview with Timothy Garton Ashvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 14, 2021

How do healthy democracies embrace both differences and common values? Hoover fellow Timothy Garton Ash discusses the crucial balance—and the danger that lies “down the road of identity politics.”