Alumni (National Fellow)

Fritz Bartel

National Fellow
B.A. University of Toronto Trinity College (2010) with High Distinction
M.A. Cornell University (2014)
Ph.D. Cornell University (2017)
Professional Sectors:
Dream Mentor:
Daniel Sargent
University of California, Berkeley
Fields of Interest:
Economic Policy
The Cold War


Fritz Bartel joined the Department of International Affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University as an assistant professor in the fall semester 2019. He comes to the School from Yale University, where he was Associate Director of International Security Studies and also held a postdoctoral fellowship.

Bartel received his Ph.D. in history from Cornell University, where his research was funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Miller Center at the University of Virginia. His dissertation, “The Privatization of the Cold War: Oil, Finance and the Fall of Communism,” won the 2018 Oxford University Press USA Dissertation Prize in International History from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), and is under contract to be published by Harvard University Press. His work has been published in a number of journals, including Enterprise & Society and Diplomatic History.

Bartel was a co-convener of the inaugural Yale Brady-Johnson International Security Studies Research Workshop in 2018, and in 2019, he will be a co-convener of “The End of the Cold War: Continuity and Change 30 Years Later,” a conference that will bring together leading scholars in history and political science to discuss the legacies of the Cold War’s end for the current international order.

His research interests include US foreign relations, the global Cold War, grand strategy, and the history of capitalism.

Thesis Description:

The Privatization of the Cold War: Global Finance and the Fall of Communism
Fritz Bartel’s dissertation, “The Privatization of the Cold War: Global Finance and the Fall of Communism,” examined the growth of communist states’ sovereign debt to Western banks and governments from the 1973 oil crisis through the end of the Cold War. Between 1970 and 1989, the Eastern Bloc accumulated over $90 billion of sovereign debt to Western banks and governments. The core argument of the project was that this sovereign debt - and the bankers and policymakers on both sides of the Iron Curtain who managed it - decisively influenced the end of the Cold War. Through studies of the financial history of Poland, Hungary, East Germany, and the Soviet Union, the project tracked the growth of Western financial power in the Eastern Bloc. Based on extensive archival research across Europe and North America, Bartel demonstrated the significant role that this Western financial power played in the years of transition from communism to democratic capitalism. In so doing, his dissertation analyzed the rise of financial capitalism and the end of the Cold War as part of the same global history. It is a history that illuminates the powerful role of non-state financial actors, as well as the challenges that global financial markets present to democratic governance, state sovereignty, and labor movements.

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