Craig, Gordon Alexander, 1913-

Alternative names
Birth 1913-11-13
Death 2005-10-30

Biographical notes:

Historian of European diplomacy and expert on modern Germany. Craig was educated at Princeton University, receiving his Ph.D. in 1941. He was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford in 1938. During World War II he worked in Washington for the Office of Strategic Services and the Dept. of State before joining the U.S. Marine Corps. After the war he taught at Princeton; in 1961 he joined the faculty at Stanford University. He was the first recipient of the J.E. Wallace Sterling Professorship in the Humanities, 1969; he was chairman of the Faculty Senate during the 1974-75 year. During his career at Stanford, he also held an honorary professorship at the Free University of Berlin.

From the description of Gordon Alexander Craig papers, 1934-1992. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122511056

Gordon Alexander Craig was an American historian specializing in German and diplomatic history who taught at Princeton and Stanford.

From the description of Gordon Alexander Craig papers, 1946-1956 (Princeton University Library). WorldCat record id: 313653970


Born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1913, Gordon Craig immigrated to the United States from Canada with his parents at the age of 12. He was educated at Princeton University where, as Valedictorian, he received his A.B. in 1936, followed by an M.A. in 1939 and a Ph.D. in 1941. As a Rhodes Scholar in 1938, he received a B.Litt. from Oxford University. He began his teaching career at Yale in 1939, but returned to the Department of History at Princeton in 1941.

During World War II, Dr. Craig worked in Washington as a research associate for the Office of Strategic Services and as a divisional assistant for the Special Division of the Department of State. He earned a commission in the U.S. Marine Corps and after a tour of duty in the Central Pacific, Dr. Craig resumed his teaching at Princeton University in 1946. In 1950, Dr. Craig received full professorship at Princeton at the age of 37. He was a frequent lecturer at the National War College and served as Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Princeton University Marine Corps History Project, which in 1951 published The U.S. Marines and Amphibious War, a scientific study of the Marines' working principles of warfare.

Gordon Craig moved to Stanford University in 1961, and became the first recipient of the J. E. Wallace Sterling Endowed Professorship in the Humanities in 1969. The Sterling Professorship was created in 1968 by the Stanford Board of Trustees in honor of Dr. Sterling, who resigned after 19 years as Stanford's president to become lifetime chancellor of the University.

Dr. Craig was appointed an honorary professor by the Berlin Senate in 1962 and served as member of the faculty of the Free University of Berlin during the remainder of his career at Stanford. In 1970, Dr. Craig received an honorary Litt.D. from Princeton University and in 1972 received an honorary degree from Wake Forest University.

As Chairman of the Department of History at Stanford from 1972 to 1975 and again in 1979, and Chairman of the Faculty Senate for the 1974-75 academic year, Dr. Craig worked to strengthen the Department of History as well as the University's undergraduate and graduate teaching programs. In addition he helped to redesign Stanford University's overseas programs as head of the Committee on Foreign Study Programs in 1974. He was the recipient of the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Outstanding Service to Undergraduate Education in 1973.

Among his many activities and honors, Craig serving as a visiting professor at Columbia University, a fellow in the Center of Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California, a member of the Civilian Faculty Selection Advisory Committee of the National War College, a member of the Social Science Advisory Board of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, President of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association, and Second and First Vice President of the Comite International des Sciences Historiques. He was a frequent Phi Beta Kappa lecturer and served on the Senate of the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa from 1979 through 1985. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as the American Philosophical Association in 1962, and served as President of the American Historical Association in 1982.

An international authority on European diplomatic and military history and modern European and German history, Craig is the author of numerous scholarly publications on these and other subjects. His publications include: The Diplomats, 1919-1939; Makers of Modern Strategy; Europe Since 1815, a widely-used textbook; From Bismarck to Adenauer: Aspects of German Statecraft; The Politics of the Prussian Army, 1640-1945, for which he received the H. B. Adams Prize of the American Historical Association in 1955; The Battle of Koniggraetz: Prussia's victory over Austria, 1866; On the Diplomatic Revolution of Our Time; War Politics and Diplomacy: Selected Essays; Germany, 1866-1945, for which he received the Historian's Peace Prize of the City of Munster, Germany in 1981; Uber die Deutschen, for which he received an award for the best book about Germany from abroad from the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung of Bonn in 1988; The Triumph of Liberalism, for which he received Switzerland's major literary honor, "The Gift of Honor," in 1988; and Knowledge and Power: Historical Essays and Essays About History. Professor Craig served on the editorial board of several journals and was a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, and the New York Times Review of Books. Consistently voted one of the best lecturers at both Princeton and Stanford, Professor Craig wrote many articles on teaching as well. Dr. Craig became an emeritus professor in 1979.

From the guide to the Gordon Alexander Craig Papers, 1934-1996, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)


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  • Loyalty oaths
  • Civilization--History--Outlines, syllabi, etc
  • Historians
  • Civilization--History--Drama


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  • Europe (as recorded)
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