The Origins of the Stanley Hoffmann We Knew

Some Comparisons on his Vichy Years with My Family Story

in French Politics, Culture & Society
Peter Gourevitch University of California, San Diego

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Stanley Hoffmann’s years in France before, during, and after Vichy marked him both intellectually and psychologically. Many of his great works draw on his reflections on how he saw French people responding to this situation. By coincidence, my family was living in France from 1933 to 1940 as refugees from Nazi Berlin, where they had gone in 1923 as Menshevik refugees from the Bolsheviks. This essay explores Hoffmann’s story as a way of framing my own family history, and it reflects on the way those experiences influence our lives and ideas. Hoffmann went on to great prominence writing on international relations and the politics of France. Under his influence, I went on to help erode the academic boundary between domestic affairs and international relations.

Contributor Notes

Peter Gourevitch is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the School of Global Policy and Strategy, of which he is the founding Dean, at the University of California, San Diego. He is author of Politics in Hard Times: Comparative Responses to International Economic Crisis (translated into Spanish, Chinese, and Italian); co author with James Shinn of Political Power and Corporate Governance, and former co-editor with David Lake of International Organization. A graduate of Oberlin College, he received his PhD from Harvard, where he was Acting Director of the Center for European Studies in 1972–73 and 1976–77. He received fellowships from Guggenheim, Russell Sage, and the Center for Advanced Studies. E-mail:

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