Professor Paul Betts


My published work includes the books Within Walls:  Private Life in the German Democratic Republic (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010; paperback, 2012), which was awarded the Fraenkel Prize in Contemporary History by the Wiener Library, and The Authority of Everyday Objects:  A Cultural History of West German Industrial Design (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004; paperback, 2007). In November 2020 my new book Ruin and Renewal: Civilising Europe after World War II will be published by Basic Books in the US, and Profile Books in the UK.   

I have also co-edited seven volumes:

  • The Ethics of Seeing: Photography and 20th Century German History (Berghahn, 2017), with Jennifer Evans and Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann
  • Religion, Science and Communism in Cold War Europe (Palgrave, 2016), with Stephen A. Smith
  • Heritage in the Modern World:  Historical Preservation in International Perspective, Past & Present Supplement 10 (OUP, 2015), with Corey Ross
  • Years of Persecution, Years of Extermination:  Saul Friedländer and the Future of Holocaust Studies (Continuum, 2010), with Christian Wiese
  • Between Mass Death and Individual Loss: The Place of the Dead in Twentieth-Century Germany (Berghahn Books, 2008; pb, 2011), with Alon Confino and Dirk Schumann
  • Socialist Modern:  East German Everyday Culture and Politics (University of Michigan Press, 2008), with Katherine Pence
  •  Pain and Prosperity:  Reconsidering Twentieth Century German  History (Stanford University Press, 2003), with Greg Eghigian

Co-Curator, traveling exhibition and catalogue, Tito in Africa:  Picturing Solidarity, Museum of Yugoslavia, Belgrade (June-September 2017), Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford (November 2017-March 2018), Die Wende Museum, Los Angeles (Spring 2019). 

Co-Investigator, “Socialism Goes Global: Connecting the Second and Third Worlds,” 4 Year AHRC-Funded Collaborative Grant, with 6 other international institutions, 2014-2018.

I was Chair of the German History Society (2011-2014), and co-edited the journal German History, 2004-2009.  Since 2009 I have served on the Editorial Board of Past & Present.

I am Series Editor of New Directions in German History, Berghahn Books, 2012-, and was Series Co-Editor, St Antony’s Series, Palgrave Macmillan 2013-2016.  

I was Director of St Antony’s European Studies Centre, 2015-2017

For 2018-2019 I held a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to finish my book on the remaking of Europe after 1945. 

  • 1989 At Thirty: A Recast Legacy*

  • The Polemics of Pity: British Photographs of Berlin, 1945-1947

  • The Ethics of Seeing Photography and Twentieth-Century German History

  • The Intimacy of Revolution: 1989 in Pictures

  • A Red Wind of Change: African Media Coverage of Tito’s Tours of Decolonizing Africa

  • Universalism and its Discontents: Humanity as a 20th Century Concept

  • Religion, Science and Cold War Anti-Communism: The 1949 Cardinal Mindszenty Show Trial

  • Science, Religion and Communism in Cold War Europe

  • Humanity's New Heritage: Unesco and the Rewriting of World History

  • Heritage in the Modern World: Historical Preservation in Global Perspective

  • More


I currently teach:

FHS: Masters:
General History XIII 1914-1945

Europe in the Twentieth Century, 1914-1989: National, Transnational International Histories 

General History XIV 1941-1973

Theories and Methods 

Cold War Europe: Further Subject  
Revolutions of 1989: Special Subject