Elisabeth Piller

Postdoctoral Fellow - History
Image of Elisabeth Piller
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Visiting address Niels Henrik Abels vei 36 Niels Treschows hus 0851 OSLO
Postal address Postboks 1008 Blindern 0315 OSLO

Dr Elisabeth Piller is a Norwegian Research Council post-doctoral fellow at IAKH. Her project explores the global history of Great War humanitarianism, focusing on the worldwide relief efforts on behalf of occupied Belgium. The project assesses how and why Allied and neutral publics around the world chose to alleviate the distant suffering of Belgians and how this unprecedented process of humanitarian mobilization affected the Great War and modern humanitarianism.

Before coming to UiO, she received her B.A. in the United States, M.A. in Germany and PhD in Norway (at NTNU, 2018). Her PhD thesis explored the transatlantic dynamics of cultural demobilization and diplomacy in the 1920s. In particular, it showed how systematically post-war Germany tapped into its remaining cultural capital to “re-win” the sympathies of a powerful United States and to build transatlantic momentum for a revision of the Versailles Treaty. Her first monograph Selling Weimar - German Public Diplomacy and the United States, 1918–1933 will be published in 2020.

Her work has appeared in a number of journals and edited volumes, including Diplomatic History, Immigrants and Minorities, the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and the Journal of Contemporary History.



‘Poor Little Belgium’ and the ‘Greater War’. The Commission for Relief in Belgium and the Humanitarian Mobilization of the World, 1914 – 1919



Europe and the United States since 1776

U.S. Foreign Relations in the 20th Century

Cultural History of Diplomacy and International Relations (19th and 20th c.)

Public Opinion and International Politics in the Media Age

History of Humanitarianism






Selling Weimar. German Public Diplomacy and the United States after World War I (forthcoming, Spring 2020)




“Managing Imponderables. The Rise of U.S. Tourism and the Transformation of German Diplomacy, 1890-1933” Diplomatic History 44/1 (Jan 2020): 47-75.


“American War Relief, Cultural Mobilization and the Myth of Impartial Humanitarianism, 1914 – 17” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 17/4 (Oct 2018): 619-635.


"To Aid the Fatherland. German-Americans, Transatlantic Relief Work and American Neutrality, 1914 – 17" Immigrants and Minorities. Historical Studies in Ethnicity, Migration and Diaspora 35/3 (Nov 2017): 196-215.


 “German Child Distress, American Humanitarian Aid and Revisionist Politics, 1918 – 1924” Journal of Contemporary History 51/3 (July 2016): 453-486.




“Eine Diplomatie des Mitleids? Die deutsche Kindernot, das amerikanische Hilfswerk und die Hoffnungen und Nöte revisionistischer Außenpolitik in den Anfangsjahren der Weimarer Republik“ in Andreas Braune und Michael Dreyer (eds.), Weimar und die Neuordnung der Welt. Politik, Wirtschaft, Völkerrecht nach 1918, Stuttgart: Steiner, 2020

•          Revised German version of “German Child Distress, American Humanitarian Aid and Revisionist Politics, 1918–1924” Journal of Contemporary History 51/3 (2016): 453-486


“’Can the Science of the World Allow This?’ – German Academic Distress, Foreign Aid and Cultural Demobilization, 1919–1924.” Tomas Irish and Marie-Eve Chagnon, eds. The Academic World in the Era of the Great War. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, 189-211.


with Philipp Gassert, “East Germany: ‘Solidarity with Red Prague’.” In Philipp Gassert and Martin Klimke, eds. 1968: Memories and Legacies of a Global Revolt 2009, 159-161.





“European Student Relief, Humanitarianism, and Post-World War I Reconciliation”, in Online Atlas on the History of Humanitarianism and Human Rights, ed. Fabian Klose, Marc Palen, Johannes Paulmann, and Andrew Thompson, urn:nbn:de:0159-2019042427 (May 2019) [1500-word encyclopedia article]


“Eradicating Misunderstanding? The Institute of International Education, Student Exchanges & Transatlantic Relations in the 1920s” Rockefeller Archive Research Report, Sleepy Hollow, NY (Nov 2018) http://rockarch.issuelab.org/resources/33683/33683.pdf


With Peter Gatrell, Rebecca Gill, Branden Little, “Discussion: Humanitarianism” in 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. by Ute Daniel, et al. (Nov 2017) DOI: 10.15463/ie1418.11168





Mary Elisabeth Cox, Hunger in War & Peace. Women and Children in Germany, 1914-1924. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019 (forthcoming, h-diplo)


Charlotte Lerg, Universitätsdiplomatie. Wissenschaft und Prestige in den transatlantischen Beziehungen, 1890-1920. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2019 (forthcoming, Connections. A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists)


J. Charles Schenking, “Giving Most and Giving Differently: Humanitarianism as Diplomacy Following Japan’s 1923 Earthquake” und Guy Aiken, “Feeding Germany: American Quakers in the Weimar Republic” Diplomatic History (article review, forthcoming, h-diplo)


Martin Wroblewski, Moralische Eroberungen als Instrumente der Diplomatie. Die Informations– und Pressepolitik des Auswärtigen Amts 1902 – 1914. Göttingen: V & R unipress, 2016. Diplomatica. A Journal of Diplomacy and Society 1 (April 2019): 133-135


Chad Fulwider, German Propaganda and U.S. Neutrality in World War I. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2016. Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 16/3 (July 2017): 381-382.

Published Jan. 22, 2020 4:05 PM - Last modified Feb. 5, 2020 7:11 AM