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Kennan, George Frost

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Born: 1904 AD
Died: 2005 AD, at 101 years of age.

Nationality: American
Categories: Ambassadors, Diplomat

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1904 - Born on the 16th of February in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

1928 - Joined the State Department's Division of Eastern European Affairs.

1929 - Began a program on history, politics, and the Russian language at the University of Berlin's Oriental Institute.

1939 - He was assigned to the embassy in Berlin.

1941 - He was interned in Germany for six months after the United States had entered the war in December.

1943 - 1944 - He was counsellor of the U.S. delegation to the European Advisory Commission, which worked to prepare Allied policy in Europe.

1944 - 1946 - Served as deputy head of the U.S. mission in Moscow.

1946 - Wrote his "Long Telegram" from Moscow.

1947 - Wrote the subsequent 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.

1948 - He was convinced that the situation in Western Europe had improved to the point where negotiations could be initiated with Moscow.

       - He proposed covert support of leftwing parties not oriented toward Moscow and to labor unions in Western Europe in order to engineer a rift between Moscow and working class movements in Western Europe.

1950 - He 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.

1952 - He made a misstatement that cost him his ambassadorship.

1956 - 2005 - He continued to be a leading thinker in international affairs as a faculty member of the Institute for Advanced Study.

1956 - He won the Pulitzer Prize for history and a National Book Award for Russia Leaves the War, published.

1961 - 1963 - Returned to government service in the Kennedy administration, serving as ambassador to Yugoslavia.

1967 - He was assigned to meet Svetlana Alliluyeva, the daughter of Joseph Stalin, in Switzerland and helped persuade her to come to the United States.

       - He again won a Pulitzer for Memoirs.

1970 - 1980 - He emerged as a leading critic of the renewed arms race as détente was breaking down.

1982 - He was awarded the Pacem in Terris.
Award.

1989 - President George H.W. Bush awarded him the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

2005 - Died on the 17th of March at the age of 101 at his home in Princeton.


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Page last updated: 6:25pm, 11th Jul '07

  • "[One sometimes feels] a guest of one's time and not a member of its household."
  • "The best [an American] can look forward to is the lonely pleasure of one who stands at long last on a chilly and inhospitable mountaintop where few have been before, where few can follow and where few will consent to believe he has been."
  • "[The accords were] fig leaves of democratic procedure to hide the nakedness of Stalinist dictatorship."
  • "Not only the studying and writing of history but also the honoring of it both represent affirmations of a certain defiant faith-a desperate, unreasoning faith, if you will-but faith nevertheless in the endurance of this threatened world-faith in the total essentiality of historical continuity."
  • "The very concept of history implies the scholar and the reader. Without a generation of civilized people to study history, to preserve its records, to absorb its lessons and relate them to its own problems, history, too, would lose its meaning."