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Peter Paret,
U.S. Army

A renowned scholar on military history, recipient of the 2017 Pritzker Literature Award, and World War II veteran, Peter Paret's service is honored by the Pritzker Military Museum & Library.

Born in Germany and immigrating to the United States in 1937, Paret served in the U.S. Army in the Pacific Theater of World War II. His service left him with questions about how historians discussed warfare and how nations and citizens focused their energies towards military efforts, thus sparking his interest in studying and writing about military history. Towards that end, Paret’s writing has always been characterized by its quest to understand the intricate web of actions and ideas that affect the military on and off the field of battle and to expand the definition of military history to examine its impacts on politics, society, and art. 

Paret’s wide interests have allowed him throughout his long career to enrich the field of military history more than many other historians. Paret was a co-founder of the “Clausewitz Project” at Princeton, which sought to understand the intellectual and cultural world that fostered the military writings of Carl von Clausewitz. 

In 1991, Paret shifted the discipline, proposing the study of a “new military history” that seamlessly united warfare with contemporary cultural and political events. This crossing of intellectual categories to unite seemingly disparate areas of study marks Paret’s work as unique and bold.   

Author of 14 major publications, including Clausewitz and the State: The Man, His Theories and His Times and Imagined Battles: Reflections of War in European Art, Paret has gained recognition for his research that brings together intellectual history and cultural history in order to better understand the relationship between the military and society more broadly.

Paret is a graduate of London University, the Professor Emeritus in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, a member of the American Philosophical Society, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the Leo Baeck Institute for German-Jewish History.

A recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Medal of the American Philosophical Society and the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany, Paret is a distinguished scholar across subjects, disciplines, and international boundaries.


Book dedicated: Clausewitz and the State: The Man, His Theories, and His Times by Peter Paret