W.R. Smyser, U.S. diplomat turned historian of postwar Germany, dies at 86

Historians in the News
tags: obituary, WR Smyser

W.R. Smyser, a historian of modern Germany who also served as a Foreign Service officer, member of Henry Kissinger’s National Security Council staff and deputy high commissioner for refugees at the United Nations, died March 20 at a rehabilitation center in Bethesda, Md. He was 86.

The cause was complications of congestive heart failure, said his wife, Sally Smyser.

Germany exerted a magnetic pull on Dr. Smyser, who spent time in the country as a young man, served there in the Army, held diplomatic postings in Berlin and Bonn, and eventually wrote one of the first comprehensive accounts of its political evolution after World War II — “From Yalta to Berlin: The Cold War Struggle Over Germany” (1999).

“The evolution of Germany into a unified, stable nation, more pacific, liberal and attentive to civil liberties than most even in Western Europe, is a momentous achievement,” the Economist wrote in a review. “Smyser has produced an authoritative, readable account which should become a standard text.”

Read entire article at The Washington Post

comments powered by Disqus