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.