Timothy D. Snyder

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Timothy David Snyder (born August 18, 1969) is an American author and historian specializing in the history of Central and Eastern Europe, and the Holocaust. He is the Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale University and a Permanent Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.[2]

Timothy D. Snyder
Timothy Snyder, 2016 (cropped).jpg
Timothy Snyder, in 2016
Timothy David Snyder

(1969-08-18) August 18, 1969 (age 51)
Ohio, United States
(m. 2005)
AwardsAmerican Historical Association's George Louis Beer Award (2003),[1]
Hannah Arendt Prize (2013),
The VIZE 97 Prize (2015)
Academic background
Alma mater
Academic work
Sub-disciplineHistory of Eastern Europe

Snyder is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Early life and educationEdit

Snyder was born on August 18, 1969,[3] in the Dayton, Ohio area of southwestern Ohio, the son of Christine Hadley Snyder, a teacher, accountant, and homemaker, and Estel Eugene Snyder, a veterinarian.[4] Snyder's parents were married in a Quaker ceremony in 1963 in Ohio, and his mother was active in preserving her family farmstead as a Quaker historic site. Snyder graduated from Centerville High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science from Brown University and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in modern history in 1995 at the University of Oxford, supervised by Timothy Garton Ash and Jerzy Jedlicki. He was a Marshall Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford, from 1991 to 1994.[5]


Snyder has held fellowships at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique in Paris from 1994 to 1995, the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna in 1996, the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University in 1997, and was an Academy Scholar at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University from 1998 to 2001.

He has also been an instructor at the College of Europe Natolin Campus, the Baron Velge Chair at the Université libre de Bruxelles, the Cleveringa Chair at the University of Leiden, Philippe Romain Chair at the London School of Economics, and the 2013 René Girard Lecturer at Stanford University.[6][7][8] Prior to assuming the Richard C. Levin Professorship of History, Snyder was the Bird White Housum Professor of History at Yale University.

Snyder allegedly speaks and write French, German, Polish, and Ukrainian in addition to English, and can read Czech, Slovak, Russian, and Belarusian.[citation needed] He is a member of the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.[9]

On 25 September 2020, Snyder was named as one of the 25 members of the "Real Facebook Oversight Board", an independent monitoring group over Facebook.[10]


Snyder has written five books and co-edited two. One of the latter, Thinking the Twentieth Century (2012), was written with Tony Judt while Judt was in the late stages of his illness with ALS disease.[11]

Snyder has published essays in publications such as the International Herald Tribune, The Nation, New York Review of Books,[12] the Times Literary Supplement, The New Republic, Eurozine, Tygodnik Powszechny, the Chicago Tribune, and the Christian Science Monitor.

Snyder in Lviv, Ukraine, September 2014

Snyder says that he has a reading and/or speaking knowledge of eleven European languages. This enabled him to use primary and archival sources in Germany and Central Europe in researching his book, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (2010). In an interview with Slovene historian Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič in 2016, Snyder described the book as an attempt to overcome the limitations of national history in explaining the political crimes perpetrated in Eastern Europe in the 1930s and 1940s:

The point of Bloodlands was that we hadn’t noticed a major event in European history: the fact 13 million civilians were murdered for political reasons in a rather confined space over a short period of time. The question of the book was: ‘How this could have happened?’ We have some history of Soviet terror, of the Holocaust, of the Ukrainian famine, of the German reprisals against the civilians. But all of these crimes happened in the same places in a short time span, so why not treat them as a single event and see if they can be unified under a meaningful narrative. [13]

Bloodlands got a predominantly positive reception.[14] In assessing the reviews, French historian Jacques Sémelin described it as one of those books that "change the way we look at a period in history".[15]

Snyder has stressed that in order to engage in such transnational history, knowing other languages is very important:

If you don't know Russian, you don't really know what you're missing. ... We can only see as much, and we can only go as far as our languages take us. I wrote this book in English, but there are very important conversations that are happening in German, Russian, Polish and so on among those historians, and the book is addressed to all of them.[16]

External video
  Ukraine: From Propaganda to Reality, Chicago Humanities Festival, 57:35, November 14, 2014

Bloodlands has been translated into 20 languages.[17]

Snyder published Black Earth in 2015. The book received mixed reviews, with several harsh reviews.[14]

Snyder is a member of the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Modern European History and East European Politics and Societies.[17]

For the academic year 2013–2014, he held the Philippe Roman Chair of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science.[18]

Views on PutinEdit

In The Road to Unfreedom, Snyder argues that Vladimir Putin's regime in Russia is authoritarian, and that it uses fascist ideas in its rhetoric.[19] In December 2018, during a discussion with a fellow historian of Eastern Europe, John Connelly, Snyder referred to this as schizo-fascism:

...fascist ideas have come to Russia at a historical moment, three generations after the Second World War, when it’s impossible for Russians to think of themselves as fascist. The entire meaning of the war in Soviet education was as an anti-fascist struggle, where the Russians are on the side of the good and the fascists are the enemy. So there’s this odd business, which I call in the book “schizo-fascism,” where people who are themselves unambiguously fascists refer to others as fascists.[20]

On 20 June 2017, a discussion on Germany’s historical responsibility towards Ukraine was held in the German Parliament.

His view was questioned by Marlene Laruelle, Research Professor at The George Washington University: "Contrary to [Snyder's] claims, the Kremlin does not live in an ideological world inspired by Nazi Germany, but in one in which the Yalta decades, the Gorbachev-Yeltsin years, and the collapse of the Soviet Union still constitute the main historical referents and traumas."[21] Laruelle accused Snyder of "distortions, inaccuracies, and selective interpretations."[14]

Views on the Trump administrationEdit

Asked how the agenda of the Trump administration compared with the Adolf Hitler's rise to power, Snyder said:

[H]istory does not repeat. But it does offer us examples and patterns, and thereby enlarges our imaginations and creates more possibilities for anticipation and resistance.[22]

In a May 2017 interview with Salon, Snyder warned that the Trump administration would attempt to subvert democracy by declaring a state of emergency and take full control of the government, similar to Hitler's Reichstag fire: "it’s pretty much inevitable that they will try."[23] According to Snyder, "Trump's campaign for president of the United States was basically a Russian operation." He also warned that his lies would lead to tyranny.[24]


Snyder teaches a two-part lecture course at Yale covering the history of Eastern Europe pre- and post-1914, a critical turning point in world affairs. In Fall 2020, he is teaching "Hitler, Stalin, and Us" using remote audio recordings. In the past he has also taught an undergraduate seminar on communism in Eastern Europe.[25]

Personal lifeEdit

Since 2005, Snyder has been married to Marci Shore, a professor of European cultural and intellectual history at Yale University. They have two children together.[26] He speaks five and reads ten European languages.[27]

In December 2019, he fell gravely ill following a series of medical misdiagnoses. While recuperating through the coronavirus pandemic, he was moved to write Our Malady, about the problems of the for-profit health care system in the US, and the coronavirus response so far.


Selected worksEdit

  • Nationalism, Marxism, and Modern Central Europe: A Biography of Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz (Harvard University Press, 1998).
  • Wall Around the West: State Power and Immigration Controls in Europe and North America (Rowman and Littlefield, 2000). Co-edited with Peter Andreas.
  • The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999 (Yale University Press, 2003)
  • Sketches from a Secret War: A Polish Artist's Mission to Liberate Soviet Ukraine (Yale University Press, 2005)
  • The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke (Basic Books, 2008)
  • Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (Basic Books, 2010)
  • Thinking the Twentieth Century With Tony Judt. (Penguin, 2012)
  • Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning (Penguin, 2015)
  • On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (Penguin, 2017) ISBN 978-0804190114
  • The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America (Penguin, 2018)
  • Our Malady: Lessons in Liberty from a Hospital Diary (Penguin, 2020) ISBN 9780593238899


  1. ^ George Louis Beer Prize American Historical Association (homepage), Retrieved November 30, 2012
  2. ^ Ian Kershaw and Timothy Snyder to be honoured with Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding 2012 Leipzig.de, January 16, 2012 Archived March 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Library of Congress Authorities". LCNAF Cataloging in Publication data - LC Control Number: no 98080445. LOC. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
  4. ^ Estel Eugene Snyder and Christine Hadley Snyder. Google Books. 8 September 2015. ISBN 9781101903469. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  5. ^ "Timothy Snyder Receives 2011 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award", The Phi Beta Kappa Society, 05 December 2011
  6. ^ "Professor Timothy Snyder". Yale University. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  7. ^ "Timothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands, to speak at Stanford on March 13". Stanford University. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  8. ^ "Timothy Snyder". London School of Economics. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  9. ^ "Professor Timothy Snyder". Yale University. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  10. ^ https://the-citizens.com/real-facebook-oversight/about-us/
  11. ^ "The Liveliest Mind in New York". New York.
  12. ^ List of articles by Snyder in The New York Review of Books
  13. ^ "Beware the destruction of the State. An Interview with Timothy Snyder". Eurozine. 2016-09-09. Retrieved 2020-11-15.
  14. ^ a b c "The Bleak Prophecy of Timothy Snyder". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 2019-04-12. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  15. ^ "Timothy Snyder and his Critics". Books & Ideas. 2013-02-14. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  16. ^ "Timothy Snyder, interviewed by 'Prospero', The Economist (Books), June 2011
  17. ^ a b "Best-selling author, historian Timothy Snyder to deliver W. Bruce Lincoln lecture Sept. 19", Northern Illinois University; retrieved October 3, 2012
  18. ^ "Timothy Snyder - Individual Bios - People - IDEAS - Home". Lse.ac.uk. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
  19. ^ "The Road to Unfreedom by Timothy Snyder | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books". PenguinRandomhouse.com. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  20. ^ "Public Thinker: Timothy Snyder on Russia and "Dark Globalization"". Public Books. December 7, 2018.
  21. ^ "Is Russia Really "Fascist"? A Comment on Timothy Snyder". PONARS Eurasia.
  22. ^ Snyder, Timothy (February 7, 2017). "We have at most a year to defend American democracy, perhaps less" (Interview). Matthias Kolb. Süddeutsche Zeitung. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  23. ^ Devega, Chauncey (May 1, 2017). "Historian Timothy Snyder: "It's pretty much inevitable" that Trump will try to stage a coup and overthrow democracy". Salon. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  24. ^ "Historian Timothy Snyder: Trump's lies are creeping tyranny". Vox. May 22, 2017.
  25. ^ "History: Lecture Courses". Yale University. 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  26. ^ Marriage announcement in Lehigh Valley Morning Call, February 13, 2005
  27. ^ History for the Future (Історія для майбутнього). Ukrayina Moloda. 26 June 2015
  28. ^ "FNP Prize ceremony". Foundation for Polish Science.
  29. ^ "Dagmar Havlova Presents 17th VIZE Award to Historian Timothy Snyder in Prague". American Friends of the Czech Republic. October 5, 2015. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  30. ^ a b c d e f "Timothy Snyder". Timothy Snyder. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  31. ^ "Literatur: US-Professor Timothy Snyder erhält Hannah-Arendt-Preis - Bremen" (in German). Focus.de. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
  32. ^ "The Truth about Holocaust & Stalinist Repression Winners". prakhin.org. 2014-01-26. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
  33. ^ "Nagroda Moczarskiego". nagrodamoczarskiego.pl. Retrieved 2020-03-08.
  34. ^ "Snyder book honored by American Academy of Arts and Letters". Yale University. March 16, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2017.

External linksEdit