Walter Laqueur Biography

Walter Ze'ev Laqueur (born 26 May 1921) is an American historian and political commentator.

He was born in Breslau, Lower Silesia, Prussia (modern Wrocław, Poland), to a Jewish family. In 1938, Laqueur left Germany for the British Mandate of Palestine. His parents, who were unable to leave, became victims of the Holocaust.

He lived in Israel 1938–53. After one year at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Laqueur joined Kibbutz and worked as agricultural laborer from 1939 to 1944.

In 1944 he moved to Jerusalem, worked as a journalist from 1944 to 1953, covering Palestine and, for several years, other Middle Eastern countries.

Since 1955 he lived in London.

Laqueur was Director of the Institute of Contemporary History and the Wiener Library in London in 1965–1994. He was founder and editor, with George Mosse, of the Journal of Contemporary History and of Survey 1956–1964. He was founding editor of the The Washington Papers. From 1969 he was member, later Chairman (until 2000) International Research Council of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington. Laqueur was Professor of History of Ideas at Brandeis University 1968–1972, University Professor at Georgetown University 1976–1988. He has been visiting professor of history and government at Harvard, University of Chicago, Tel Aviv and Johns Hopkins University.

His main works deal with European history in the 19th and 20th century, especially Russian history, German history and Middle East history. Laqueur has written on many topics from the German Youth Movement, Zionism, Israeli history, the cultural history of the Weimar Republic and Russia, Communism, the Holocaust, fascism and diplomatic history of the Cold War. His books have been translated into many languages and he was one of the founders of the study of political violence, guerrilla warfare and terrorism. His comments on international affairs have appeared in many American and European newspapers and periodicals.