• Courses

    • The Global Cold War
    • The Global Sixties
    • US Foreign Relations Since 1898
    • Capstone Humanities Seminar
    • US in the World Since 1898

  • Projects

    • The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GIs & Germany
    • The Nuclear Crisis: Cold War Cultures & the Politics of Peace and Security, 1975-1990

  • Books

    “'Trust, but Verify': The Politics of Uncertainty & the Transformation of the Cold War Order, 1969-1991" (Wilson Center/Stanford University Press, forthcoming August 2016)

  • Events

    • 05/19-21: Conference, “Rethinking Historical Space,” NYUAD
    • 11/01-03: Conference, “Islam in Global Perspective," NYUAD
    • 2016: "Revisiting '68 & the Global Sixties I," NYU New York


My name is Martin Klimke and I am the Associate Dean of Humanities and Associate Professor of History at New York University Abu Dhabi, as well as an associated faculty member in the Department of History at New York University.

In addition, I am an associated researcher at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA) at the University of Heidelberg and in Transatlantic Cultural History (TCH) at the University of Augsburg, Germany.

My research focuses on the intersection of political and cultural history, with a particular emphasis on diplomatic and transnational history. The increasingly global cultural, political, and military presence of the U.S., especially after World War II, as well as the country’s complex entanglement with other forces of globalization, are at the center of my scholarly interests.

My latest book is a co-authored history of the experience of African American soldiers in Germany in the 20th century entitled A Breath of Freedom: The Civil Rights Struggle, African American GIs, and Germany (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). For more, please see here.

I am currently working on the nuclear crisis, U.S. foreign policy, and grassroots activism during the Cold War of the 1980s, and am writing a transnational biography of Petra Kelly, international peace activist and co-founder of the German Green Party.

Out Soon: “Trust, but Verify”


The Politics of Uncertainty & the Transformation of the Cold War Order, 1969-1991

Edited by Martin Klimke, Reinhild Kreis, and Christian Ostermann
Washington, DC/Redwood City, CA: Wilson Center Press/Stanford University Press, forthcoming August 2016

U.S. President Ronald Reagan once famously quipped, “Nations do not mistrust each other because they are armed. They are armed because they mistrust each other.” Yet although Cold War angst (e.g., of nuclear annihilation) shaped the relationship between the ideological blocs, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, the final two decades of the era—from the period of détente starting in the late 1960s to the gradual rapprochement between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1980s—saw Cold War policy grow more flexible and diverse as each side sought to escape the orthodoxy of mutual assured destruction and deterrence.

These transformations profoundly affected relations between the two superpowers and caused uncertainties within both blocs, so that the second half of the Cold War was characterized by a complex mixture of fear and trust, which manifested itself, among other things, in confidence-building and risk-taking.

This volume uses the categories of trust and confidence to explore and reevaluate these dynamics for the final two decades of the Cold War.

For more, please see here.

“Revisiting 1968 & the Global Sixties”

As the fiftieth anniversary of 1968 approaches, this series of conferences will reassess the global causes, themes, forms, and legacies of that tumultuous period. While existing scholarship continues to largely concentrate on the U.S. and Western Europe, our initiative will focus on Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Topics range from the economy, decolonization, and higher education to forms of protest, transnational relations, and the politics of memory.

March 13-15, 2016: NYU Shanghai
September 19-21, 2016: NYU Abu Dhabi
December (TBD): NYU New York

Co-convened by Jian Chen, Joanna Waley-Cohen (NYUSH), Mary Nolan, Marilyn Young (NYUNY), Masha Kirasirova, Martin Klimke (NYUAD)

For more, please see here.

Out Now: Protest Cultures: A Companion

Protest Companion_Cover_small

Edited by Kathrin Fahlenbrach, Martin Klimke, and Joachim Scharloth
New York: Berghahn Books, forthcoming March 2016
552 pages, 21 illus., 1 table; ISBN  978-1-78533-148-0

Protest is a ubiquitous and richly varied social phenomenon, one that finds expression not only in modern social movements and political organizations but also in grassroots initiatives, individual action, and creative works. It constitutes a distinct cultural domain, one whose symbolic content is regularly deployed by media and advertisers, among other actors. Yet within social movement scholarship, such cultural considerations have been comparatively neglected.

Protest Cultures: A Companion dramatically expands the analytical perspective on protest beyond its political and sociological aspects. It combines cutting-edge synthetic essays with concise, accessible case studies on a remarkable array of protest cultures, outlining key literature and future lines of inquiry.

For more, please see here.

Out Now: Ein Hauch von Freiheit?

Ein Hauch von Freiheit_4_Small

Afroamerikanische Soldaten, die US-Bürgerrechtsbewegung und Deutschland

Maria Höhn & Martin Klimke
Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, April 2016
320 Seiten, kart., zahlr. Abb.; ISBN 978-3-8376-3492-1

Die Geschichte der in Deutschland stationierten, afroamerikanischen Soldaten ist bislang wenig beachtet worden. Maria Höhn und Martin Klimke zeichnen nach, wie sich das Land im Laufe des 20. Jahrhunderts als wichtiger Bezugspunkt im afroamerikanischen Kampf um die Gleichberechtigung und zur Beendigung der Segregation in den USA herausbildete.

Von den beiden Weltkriegen und der Besatzungszeit bis in die späten 1970er Jahre schildern sie die Proteste in den US-Militärbasen und Garnisonsstädten in der Bundesrepublik, den Besuch von Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Berlin 1964, die Allianz der Studentenbewegung mit der Black-Power- und GI-Bewegung sowie die Angela-Davis-Solidaritätskampagnen in Ost- und Westdeutschland.

For more, please see here.