2009 Video Announcement

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Visit the 2009 Pritzker Military Library Gala Website


Press Release

Chicago, IL (June 22, 2009) - Gerhard L. Weinberg has been selected to receive the 2009 Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. The $100,000 honorarium, citation and medallion, sponsored by the Chicago-based Tawani Foundation, will be presented at the Library's annual Liberty Gala on October 24, 2009 at Chicago's Palmer House Hilton Hotel. The announcement was made today via Internet webcast at www.pritzkermilitarylibrary.org.

The Pritzker Military Library Literature Award recognizes a living author for a body of work that has profoundly enriched the public understanding of American military history. A national panel of writers and historians - including the first and second recipients, James M. McPherson and Allan R. Millett - reviewed nominations and definitive works submitted by publishers, agents, booksellers, and other professional literary organizations.

James N. Pritzker, founder of the Pritzker Military Library and a retired Colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard, said that "Dr. Weinberg is truly a gifted writer of military history who has devoted his skills and talent to produce A World at Arms, perhaps the finest study of World War Two ever attempted by a single scholar."

Gerhard Weinberg was born in Hanover, Germany on January 1, 1928. He attended school there, but was expelled for being Jewish in 1938, and went to England. In 1940, his family moved to the United States. Weinberg graduated from Albany High School and enrolled in the New York State College for Teachers. He later served in the US Army in occupied Japan, teaching American GIs history and government as well as literacy classes. He took an MA in History at the University of Chicago in 1949 and a PhD in 1951.

Dr. Weinberg has taught at the Universities of Chicago, Kentucky, Michigan, and North Carolina, with visiting appointments at Bonn University in Germany and the US Air Force Academy. He has frequently lectured for the Extension Program of the Naval War College as well as at the Marine Corps University and the United States Military Academy at West Point.

He is author of many books including A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II (Cambridge University Press); World in the Balance: Behind the Scenes of World War II (University Press of New England); Germany, Hitler, and World War II: Essays in Modern German and World History (Cambridge University Press); Hitler's Foreign Policy 1933-1939: The Road to World War II (Enigma Books single-volume paperback available in Fall 2009); The Foreign Policy of Hitler's Germany (Prometheus Books);and Visions of Victory: The Hopes of Eight World War II Leaders (Cambridge University Press).

Dr. Weinberg currently serves as the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor Emeritus of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he has been a member of the history faculty since 1974. He lives with his wife in Efland, North Carolina. States Weinberg, "I am very grateful for the award and attribute much of the credit to the teachers at Hillcrest School in Swanage (England), Albany (New York), and Chicago who trained me wonderfully as well as to students, both undergraduate and graduate, who have challenged and inspired me over the years. And, of course, to all of the archivists who responded patiently to a very demanding visitor."

The Pritzker Military Library Literature Award was established in 2007. The recipient's contributions may be academic, non-fiction, fiction, or a combination of any of the three, and his or her work should embody the values of the Pritzker Military Library. The finalist recommendation was unanimously endorsed by the executive council of the Foundation established to oversee the award process.

The award will be presented on October 24, 2009 during the Library's annual Liberty Gala at Chicago's historic Palmer House Hilton Hotel. The Library will also recognize the Union League Club of Chicago with the Founder's Award. The evening will include a tribute to members of the U.S. Armed Forces, a performance by members of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and the presentation of the Colby Award, which recognizes first works of fiction or non-fiction that have made significant contributions to the public's understanding of intelligence operations, military history, or international affairs, to authors Marcus Luttrell (Lone Survivor) and Dexter Filkins (The Forever War). For more information on the Liberty Gala or to purchase tickets, visit the Gala website at: www.pmlgala.org.


Gerhard L. Weinberg

Gerhard L. Weinberg was born in Hanover, Germany on January 1, 1928.  He attended school there, was expelled because he is Jewish in November 1938, and went to England at the end of that year.  In a boarding school on the south coast he watched part of the Battle of Britain and in London experienced the first stage of the Blitz.  In September 1940 the family moved to the United States.  He graduated from Albany (NY) High School in 1944 and enrolled in New York State College for Teachers (now the University at Albany).  He served in the US Army of occupation in Japan 1946-47, teaching American GIs US history and government as well as literacy classes, and after returning to Albany graduated with a BA in 1948.  He took an MA in History at the University of Chicago in 1949 and a PhD in 1951.

From 1951-54 Weinberg worked as a Research Analyst on the War Documentation Project, an air force contract with Columbia University for research in the captured German World War II documents.  Subsequently he taught at the Universities of Chicago, Kentucky, Michigan, and North Carolina, with visiting appointments at Bonn University in Germany and the US Air Force Academy.  He has frequently lectured for the Extension Program of the Naval War College as well as at the Marine Corps University and West Point.  In 1956-57 he established the program for microfilming the German documents before their return to Germany.  In that process, he found and edited for publication a second book Adolf Hitler dictated in 1928 but never published.  In addition, he has published, edited or co-authored nine other books and over a hundred articles, chapters, and other publications dealing with the origins and course of World War II, the Holocaust, and the location and nature of German records.  Several of the books have won prizes and appeared in translation into German, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Greek, and other languages.  Weinberg has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Social Sciences Research Council, and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Weinberg’s activities in professional organizations include terms as Vice-President for Research of the American Historical Association, President of the German Studies Association, Chair of the European Section of the Southern Historical Association and of the Conference Group for Central European History, and membership in the Society for Military History and the Coordinating Committee on Women in the Historical Profession.  Much involved with the National World War II Museum, he has served on and chaired several US government advisory committees and has two honorary degrees.  He lives with his wife and a very friendly dog in Efland, North Carolina.


Screening Committee

  • Edward M. Coffman
  • Steve Coll
  • Carlo D' Este
  • Gary T. Johnson
  • James M. McPherson
  • Donald L. Miller
  • Dr. Allan R. Millett
  • Joseph E. Persico
  • Thomas E. Ricks
  • Mark A. Stoler