top of page


Recipient, 2022 Scholar's Award, the Truman Library Institute


Truman Library Institute

$30,000 Grant Awarded in Support of Armies of Peace: The United Nations, NATO, and the Korean War

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Truman Library Institute proudly announces that it has awarded the 2022 Scholar’s Award to Ian Ona Johnson, P. J. Moran Family Assistant Professor of Military History at the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Johnson’s academic research focuses on the origins and conduct of war, as well as the maintenance of peace, and the $30,000 Scholar’s Award was made in support of his forthcoming book, Armies of Peace: The United Nations, NATO, and the Korean War.

The 2022 awardee’s first monograph, Faustian Bargain: The Soviet-German Partnership and the Origins of the Second World War, was published by Oxford University Press in June 2021 and has been hailed as “a revelation and a triumph…an essential read for everyone interested in the period.” Johnson also has edited the memoirs of a Russian veteran and revolutionary for publication, The White Nights: Pages from a Russian Doctor’s Notebook.

The prestigious Scholar’s Award is given biennially by the Truman Library Institute to a post-doctoral scholar engaged in work focused on the life and career of Harry S. Truman or on the public and foreign policy issues which were prominent during the Truman years. Grants of $30,000 are awarded with the intention to free a scholar from teaching or other employment to allow for progress on the writing of a major book.

“The Truman Library Institute’s Grants Committee was very impressed with Dr. Johnson’s project,” said Dr. Kari Frederickson, professor of history at the University of Alabama and chair of the Truman Library Institute’s Grants Committee. “From a very competitive field of entries, Ian Ona Johnson stood out as a ‘leading young historian of his generation,’ and we are thrilled to support the completion of what will certainly be an essential addition to our understanding of conflict, peace and Truman-era Cold War policies.”

“The Scholar’s Award is an immense honor,” Dr. Johnson said. “I am flattered by the Committee’s decision and excited to get back to the Truman Library at the first opportunity.”

For more, visit the Truman Library Institute.

How an International Order Died: Lessons from the Interwar Period

War on the Rocks, August 5, 2022


Policymakers and analysts should study the collapse of the interwar order because that era was the most recent period of true multipolarity in the international system. With the return of multipolarity, the interregnum between World War I and World War II is increasingly relevant as a source of historical analogies. In addition, the question of deterring revisionist states — particularly through non-nuclear means — is a major concern of American security and defense policy today. Examining how and why deterrence failed to maintain the status quo in Europe in 1939 — despite the seeming superiority of British, French, and Polish forces — offers useful lessons about the nature of conventional deterrence and the prospects for conflict in the increasingly dynamic contemporary world....


This Month in History: Operation Barbarossa

Origins, June 12, 2021

Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov disembarked from his private train car in a somber Berlin on the rainy morning of November 12, 1940. A German band struck up the Internationale, but at twice the normal speed—Nazi Party officials were worried that some locals might try to sing along to the socialist anthem. Molotov and his party were then whisked away in Mercedes limousines down empty streets to meetings with German leadership.

By the time of Molotov’s visit, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany had been partners for over a year. Between September 1939 and May 1940, Germany had succeeded in overrunning much of Central and Western Europe, most shockingly its rapid victory over France. The USSR, in turn, had conquered the Baltic States, Romanian Bessarabia, Finnish Karelia, and Eastern Poland. Between them, Hitler and Stalin now held sway over almost all of Europe.


International Journal of Military History and Historiography, March 2021

Winner of the 2020 IJMH Early Career Prize

From 1914 to 1917, in severe weather conditions on the icy Baltic Sea, Russian and British submariners contested control of the sea lanes with the German Imperial Navy. Their accomplishments were largely forgotten after the war’s end. However, the Russo-British Baltic Submarine Flotilla played an important role in the war at sea in the First World War. Most significantly, in 1915 the Flotilla wreaked havoc on German naval planning and nearly cut Germany’s critical iron ore imports from Sweden. The results would lead to a strategic crisis in the German Imperial Admiralty Staff and delay Germany’s attempt to break the British blockade until 1916. Here, the significance of the Russo-British Baltic Submarine Flotilla to the broader strategy of the First World War – and its later impact on strategy in the Second World War – is re-examined.

For More, visit The International Journal of Military History and Historiography

Putin's Myths About the Soviets and World War Two

The Wall Street Journal, May 9, 2020

The final defeat of Nazi Germany 75 years ago closed the bloodiest theater in humanity’s most violent war. Nowhere was the cost of the conflict higher than in the Soviet Union, where at least 26.6 million perished. This year’s Victory Day commemorations in Moscow have been postponed due to Covid-19. Yet even as Russians wait for the chance to honor Russia’s fallen, fresh battles are under way over World War II’s legacy.

Harvard's Applied History Project Article of the Week, WOTR top read for 2021
bottom of page