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.