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Book Title: Memoirs: 1925-1950|
The author of the book: George F. Kennan
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Edition: Atlantic Monthly Press Book/Little, Brown & Co. (Boston)
Date of issue: 1967
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ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 17.79 MB
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This book is the personal & professional record of one of America's most distinguished diplomats, George F. Kennan. On his graduation from Princeton in 1925, moved perhaps by the example of his distant cousin George Kennan, who wrote the classic work on Siberia, the younger George prepared to enter the Foreign Service. After a short exposure to diplomacy in Germany & on the Baltic Coast, the young consul felt so inadequate that he was about to resign. His career was salvaged when the State Department registered him as a student of Russian at the University of Berlin, & here he began to acquire his knowledge of & insight into the Russian character which were to serve him so well.
It has been Kennan's destiny to be posted repeatedly at the threshold of crises. His fluency in Russian make him an indispensable member of Ambassador Bullitt's small staff which reopened the American Embassy in Moscow in 1933. He was an observer at Stalin's famous purge trials. He was in Prague when the Germans took over Czechoslovakia. When Hitler declared war on the USA, he was in Berlin & was interned for six months. He was Harriman's righthand man in Moscow from 1944 to '46 during the strenuous war negotiations with the Kremlin. Throughout this long exposure to the agony of Europe, he was evolving policies for dealing with the Russians &, after war's end, the Germans. His Russian policies he defined in a series of farsighted Position Papers, which were sent to the State Dep't & pigeonholed without comment. These historic papers have been released & are published at the end of this volume.
When he was recalled to Washington in 1946, Kennan came into his own as a positive force in foreign policy. President Truman & Secretary Marshall gave him the scope which FDR had denied. Kennan played a formative part in the development & application of the Marshall Plan. He was sent to Japan to help reform occupational policy. He drew up a blueprint for the peaceful settlement of Central Europe--a settlement in which he strongly resisted the rearming of Germany with nuclear weapons.
This detailed account of 25 years of diplomatic history is written with lucid eloquence. Kennan's portraits of Stalin, William Bullitt, Alexander Kirk, Harry Hopkins, General Marshall, Ambassador Harriman & Charles Bohlen are superbly drawn. The generous excerpts from his journals reveal his sensitivity to human details and his skill at evoking scenes and incidents from his travels in many lands.
Mr. Kennan never loses the overview. Transcending he personal encounters, the specific events and positions, are his clearly articulated principles for the just government of foreign affairs in a world for which, like it or not, we as Americans bear a major responsibility. This makes these memoirs the most important book Mr. Kennan has yet written.
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Read information about the authorFrom Wikipedia:
George Frost Kennan (February 16, 1904 – March 17, 2005) was an American advisor, diplomat, political scientist, and historian, best known as "the father of containment" and as a key figure in the emergence of the Cold War. He later wrote standard histories of the relations between Russia and the Western powers.
In the late 1940s, his writings inspired the Truman Doctrine and the U.S. foreign policy of "containing" the Soviet Union, thrusting him into a lifelong role as a leading authority on the Cold War. His "Long Telegram" from Moscow in 1946, and the subsequent 1947 article "The Sources of Soviet Conduct" argued that the Soviet regime was inherently expansionist and that its influence had to be "contained" in areas of vital strategic importance to the United States. These texts quickly emerged as foundational texts of the Cold War, expressing the Truman administration's new anti-Soviet Union policy. Kennan also played a leading role in the development of definitive Cold War programs and institutions, most notably the Marshall Plan.
Shortly after the diploma had been enshrined as official U.S. policy, Kennan began to criticize the policies that he had seemingly helped launch. By mid-1948, he was convinced that the situation in Western Europe had improved to the point where negotiations could be initiated with Moscow. The suggestion did not resonate within the Truman administration, and Kennan's influence was increasingly marginalized—particularly after Dean Acheson was appointed Secretary of State in 1949. As U.S. Cold War strategy assumed a more aggressive and militaristic tone, Kennan bemoaned what he called a misinterpretation of his thinking.
In 1950, Kennan left the Department of State, except for two brief ambassadorial stints in Moscow and Yugoslavia, and became a leading realist critic of U.S. foreign policy. He continued to be a leading thinker in international affairs as a faculty member of the Institute for Advanced Study from 1956 until his death at age 101 in March 2005.
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