David Harrisville

David Harrisville received his B.A. in History from Carleton College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he subsequently served as a postdoctoral fellow sponsored by the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA).  He has also held graduate fellowships at the Free University of Berlin and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  His teaching and research interests span the history of modern Europe, with special emphasis on Germany, the Second World War, and the history of morality.
His current book project, an outgrowth of his dissertation, sheds light on how soldiers of the Wehrmacht (the German Army) nursed the conviction that they remained decent men fighting for a morally worthy cause even as they took part in war crimes and genocide during the invasion of the Soviet Union.  The self-exonerating letters they wrote home, he argues, laid the foundations for the myth of the “clean” Wehrmacht that would shape German memory for decades to come.

Name Title Description


Modern Europe

The history of Europe from the time of the Enlightenment to the present. Major themes include: the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, nationalism, socialism, liberalism, imperialism, the World Wars, fascism and communism, the Holocaust, post-WWII reconstruction and the Cold War, decolonization, citizenship, immigration, the end of communism, market integration, a common currency, and the evolution of the European Union, and globalization.


Twentieth Century Germany

German history from the catastrophic violence of two world wars and the Holocaust, through the process of postwar rebuilding in East and West, to the peaceful revolution that ended the Cold War in 1989 and helped to initiate reunification in 1990.


Nation & Race in Modern Europe

Development of concepts of race and nation in Europe since early nineteenth century. Topics include: scientific racism and eugenics; the origins of modern nationalisms; contemporary theories of nationalism; the roots of modern anti-Semitism; ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Ph. D.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Carleton College

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