Carole Fink is Humanities Distinguished Professor of History and an associate of the Mershon Center. She is author or editor of 12 books on European history and historiography including:
- Defending the Rights of Others: The Great Powers, the Jews, and International Minority Protection, 1878-1938 (Cambridge, 2004), winner of the George Louis Beer and Akira Iriye prizes.
- Marc Bloch: A Life in History (Cambridge University Press, 1989), translated into six languages.
- The Genoa Conference: European Diplomacy, 1921-1922 (North Carolina, 1984), winner of the George Louis Beer Prize.
Fink’s current book project is West Germany and Israel in a Changing Regional and Global Environment, 1966-74. After World War II, Fink argues, Israel enjoyed a special relationship with West Germany based on the grim legacy of the Holocaust. Their link included restitution payments and a secret arms supply sent from Bonn to Jerusalem.
In 1969, however, West German Chancellor Willy Brandt embarked on a policy of Ostpolitik, establishing friendly relations with the Soviet Union and renewing ties with Arab governments. Israel, which feared these changes, denounced West Germany's ties with its enemies, called on Bonn to maintain its political and economic support, and resisted Bonn’s pressure to conciliate its Arab neighbors. By 1974, the relationship between the two countries had become largely pragmatic and top-down.
Fink's second area of research is on the international refugee regime established by the League of Nations. This system, which dealt with victims of World War I and the Russian Revolution as well as the Jewish refugee crisis before World War II, was the forerunner to the 1951 convention that created the U.N. High Commission for Refugees.
Fink argues that the current international regime made progress in expanding the definition of a refugee, establishing the right to legal aid, and setting forth the principle of burden sharing. However, other problems have not been solved. The U.N. High Commission remains largely humanitarian and fails to address the political causes of refugee crises. Moreover, the refugee question has been kept separate from human rights programs, and refugees still have no right to asylum.
Besides her own research, Fink will also oversee editing of a book of essays based on the Mershon Center graduate student conference "Pacts and Alliances: Why They Succeed, Why They Fail, and Why We Should Care" to be published by I.B. Taurus.
She also directs the Mershon Network of International Historians, an online association for scholars in modern European international relations. Located at www.mnih.org, the website is visited annually by more than 50,000 people in dozens of countries.
Humanities Distinguished Professor of History
The Ohio State University