!!> Read ➶ Memoirs, 1925-1950 ➺ Author George F. Kennan – Thomashillier.co.uk

Memoirs, 1925-1950 This Book Is The Personal And Professional Record Of One Of America S Most Distinguished Diplomats, George F Kennan On His Graduation From Princeton In , 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 And 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, And Here He Began To Acquire His Knowledge Of And Insight Into The Russian Character Which Were To Serve Him So WellIt Has Been Mr 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 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 United States, Mr Kennan Was In Berlin And Was Interned For Six Months He Was Harriman S Right Hand Man In Moscow From To During The Strenuous War Negotiations With The Kremlin Throughout This Long Exposure To The Agony Of Europe, Mr Kennan Was Evolving Policies For Dealing With The Russians And, After The End Of The War, The Germans His Russian Policies He Defined In A Series Of Farsighted Position Papers, Which Were Sent To The State Department And Pigeonholed Without Comment These Historic Papers Have Been Released By The State Department And Are Published At The End Of This VolumeWhen He Was Recalled To Washington In , Kennan Came Into His Own As A Positive Force In American Foreign Policy President Truman And Secretary Marshall Gave Him The Scope Which FDR Had Denied Him Kennan Played A Formative Part In The Development And Application Of The Marshall Plan He Was Sent To Japan To Help Reform Our 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 WeaponsThis Long And Detailed Account Of Twenty Five Years Of Diplomatic History Is Written With Extraordinary Eloquence And Lucidity Mr Kennan S Portraits Of Stalin, William Bullitt, Alexander Kirk, Harry Hopkins, General Marshall, Ambassador Harriman And 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 LandsMr 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


10 thoughts on “Memoirs, 1925-1950

  1. says:

    George Kennan was an American diplomat stationed in the Soviet Union before and after World War II He was also in Germany when the United States entered the war in December, 1941 He, along with other American diplomats, was incarcerated in Germany, only to be released in mid 1942 Mr Kennan does not dwell on this I only mention it because I was unaware of this detainment of the diplomats of the United States.Mr Kennan spoke fluent Russian and German Unlike many diplomats George Kennan was George Kennan was an American diplomat stationed in the Soviet Union before and after World War II He was also in Germany when the United States entered the war in December, 1941 He, along with other American diplomats, was incarcerated in Germany, only to be released in mid 1942 Mr Kennan does not dwell on this I only mention it because I was unaware of this detainment of the diplomats of the United States.Mr Kennan spoke fluent Russian and German Unlike many diplomats George Kennan was not afraid to voice his opinion This often put him at odds with Washington He understood very clearly the nature of Stalin and the Soviet dictatorship in the 1930 s when there were others who idealized Marxist Soviet communism Later, when Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, he correctly stated the true nature of the new found Soviet allies who wanted as much aid as possible to combat the German invasion He saw clearly that Stalin would want to occupy permanently any territories acquired during the war In fact this had already happened with the occupation of the Baltic States and Eastern Poland and the attack on Finland after the signing of the Nazi Soviet pact in 1939 But also Kennan did not want a war with the Soviets he saw that Soviet intentions were not oriented in that direction They understood the language of power and George Kennan was a most pragmatic person He also ignores Churchill who also, after the Warsaw uprising in 1944 came to have a different view of the Soviet Union and the nature of Stalin s acquisitions in Eastern Europe.This book is chiefly about the methodology of diplomacy and the history of it during Kennan s tenure Kennan was a passionate person and would not withhold his judgements He was very unique in this way Perhaps the tone is rather detailed at times and the reading varies from page turning to somewhat arduous in my opinion maybe too much on the nuances of diplomacy Don t look for anything personal about George Kennan s life in this book In passing, he mentions that after spending so much time in the Soviet Union and Germany that upon his return to his native state of Wisconsin he felt alienated and unable to fit in Too much had happened to both him and his native state in the interim This distancing of himself from his homeland allowed him to view the United States as merely one of the countries on the world stage, albeit a significant one.A favourite quote respecting the U.S from page 496 of my edition we Americans may be profoundly convinced that we are right In our participation on the international scene we are only one of a number of contenders for the privilege of leading a national existence on a portion of the territory of the world let us recognize the legitimacy of differences of interest and philosophy between groups of men and not pretend that they can be made to disappear behind some common philosophical concept


  2. says:

    I read this over a period of several years at breakfast only This memoir covers some really important moments in modern history, and Kennan s writing is excellent VERY interesting to see how spot on Kennan writing in 1967 was about the USSR and even about today s foreign policy He did write with a little chip on his shoulder not all his advice was accepted by politicians When I finished it three years before this writing I thought it was almost worth starting over to read again, this I read this over a period of several years at breakfast only This memoir covers some really important moments in modern history, and Kennan s writing is excellent VERY interesting to see how spot on Kennan writing in 1967 was about the USSR and even about today s foreign policy He did write with a little chip on his shoulder not all his advice was accepted by politicians When I finished it three years before this writing I thought it was almost worth starting over to read again, this time in a MUCH shorter period 565 pages includes appendices of papers he wrote during his service


  3. says:

    George Kennan was a foreign service officer, trained in the 1920s and 1930s in Germany He was stationed in Riga to learn Russian He observed the rise of Hitler in Germany, and was in the Soviet Union during the purges and WWII He knew John Paton Davies, who might be described as his counterpart in China during these years He was ambassador to the Soviet Union, a rare appointment of a professional foreign service officer to such a post This book is a good companion to Montefiore s book on St George Kennan was a foreign service officer, trained in the 1920s and 1930s in Germany He was stationed in Riga to learn Russian He observed the rise of Hitler in Germany, and was in the Soviet Union during the purges and WWII He knew John Paton Davies, who might be described as his counterpart in China during these years He was ambassador to the Soviet Union, a rare appointment of a professional foreign service officer to such a post This book is a good companion to Montefiore s book on Stalin Kennan offers insight into the Russian nation and its incredible people that is not available elsewhere The memoir is in two volumes the first covers 1925 1950, and the second from 1950 1963 These books are a nice place to start for a historical understanding of how the U.S became embroiled in Vietnam


  4. says:

    This was a well written work on the involvement of the united states in world affairs in the time period of 1925 to 1950 in the view of the author It was a very dry read for me, Was very glad to reach the end.


  5. says:

    George Kennan was the foremost Russian authority in America during his time which was basically for the past century as he lived until age 101 in 2005 This book focuses on his rise through the Department of State from Foreign Service officer to a respected voice on Russian and German affairs in particular, and European and Asian affairs in general Kennan begins by briefly touching on his youth in Milwaukee, and closes by describing how he gradually fell out of favor in government and left a George Kennan was the foremost Russian authority in America during his time which was basically for the past century as he lived until age 101 in 2005 This book focuses on his rise through the Department of State from Foreign Service officer to a respected voice on Russian and German affairs in particular, and European and Asian affairs in general Kennan begins by briefly touching on his youth in Milwaukee, and closes by describing how he gradually fell out of favor in government and left a few months after the onset of the Korean War in 1950 Kennan quotes liberally from his copious and extensive diary entries Indeed, the entries are so full of detailed information about people, places, and things that coupled with all of the official papers and memos that he wrote during his government career one wonders if he ever had time to do anything else other than write But the diary entries that he chose to highlight here really provide the most interesting reading he writes of encountering a German prostitute one night in pre WWII Berlin, and how he declined her services but instead had her accompany him to a bar where they talked about her life for awhile he describes his constant travels throughout Europe in the days before jet travel, he was constantly taking long and arduous train journeys his virtual imprisonment by the Germans following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor his rocky tenure as charge d affaires in Portugal his journeys to remote Russian villages to see old churches and his insightful portraits of people in power whom he came into contact with This book does contain a heavy dose of melancholy, which no doubt reflected Kennan s personality He was too hard on himself, minimizing achievements and magnifying defeats He writes of his isolation and loneliness as a student at Princeton in the 1920s and how he did not fit in, and yet he did not want to fit in He was frequently ill with various ailments, yet as mentioned above, he lived an incredibly long life Fortunately, the melancholy is balanced with wry humor as Kennan had the ability to laugh at himself, at the frequent obtuseness of the State Department, and admit when he was in error Especially enlivening were the chapters on non Russian topics His time in Lisbon, Portugal was interesting, and ultimately resulted in a low point being summoned home to Washington to face an intimidating and hostile panel of the Secretary of War, the Secretary of State, and high ranking military officials and being curtly dismissed from the room and a high point two private meetings in the Oval Office with FDR Similarly, his meetings with General Douglas MacArthur in Tokyo following WWII were also interesting to read about Because Kennan is so closely associated with Russian studies, one does not picture him anywhere else in the world or thinking about any other country But that is to sell him well short he had a global perspective and the ability to both compartmentalize when needed, and also to understand strategically how an action in one part of the world would most likely impact a faraway country As the book goes along, Kennan becomesheavily focused on the policy side of things and the inner workings of policy meetings, especially during his time as head of the Policy Planning Staff Numerous meetings are recounted as policy proposals are bandied about While Kennan s writing style is fluid and he keeps the story moving, these sections are not as interesting as his reminiscences about certain episodes in his life Nonetheless, for any interested in WWII and post WWII era history and U.S foreign relations, this book is well worth the time needed to read it


  6. says:

    What an unexpectedly wonderful book I pulled this one from my shelf as part of a New Year s resolution to readof the books I already have, and I m so glad that I did Kennan is a fascinating man who overcome paralyzing social anxiety to build an incredible life and career in the foreign service Like a world history version of Where s Waldo, Kennan pops his head up in just about every major world event that took place during his tenure with the State Department, almost always with brillia What an unexpectedly wonderful book I pulled this one from my shelf as part of a New Year s resolution to readof the books I already have, and I m so glad that I did Kennan is a fascinating man who overcome paralyzing social anxiety to build an incredible life and career in the foreign service Like a world history version of Where s Waldo, Kennan pops his head up in just about every major world event that took place during his tenure with the State Department, almost always with brilliant, though often overlooked, insight into the world s greatest crises and the actors involved The lead up, duration, and aftermath of WWII have been written about thousands of times But, Kennan s memoirs brings the period to life in an incredibly unique and engaging way


  7. says:

    You probably don t want to read this book its an academic or intellectual self biography about cold war politics, and I confess I bogged down and quit on page 373 but if someone else could please review 374 to 500 plus annexes, I would appreciate it The tone is dry, pretends to be impersonal, and quotes from a vast body of writing that Kennan evidently kept intact for years Mention of his personal life is limited, and the scope is around the world political, how he saw it, and how he You probably don t want to read this book its an academic or intellectual self biography about cold war politics, and I confess I bogged down and quit on page 373 but if someone else could please review 374 to 500 plus annexes, I would appreciate it The tone is dry, pretends to be impersonal, and quotes from a vast body of writing that Kennan evidently kept intact for years Mention of his personal life is limited, and the scope is around the world political, how he saw it, and how he impacted it In summary, a book for a scholar, not for a general reader.Kennan was one of the great architects of the cold war and the theory of Communist containment As such he marches across political history as a giant, so this book is strangely illuminating our giant was only a man after all.In the beginning of the book, Kennan is a romantic young nebbish a Princeton loner and graduate in the US Foreign Service, struggling around Europe without being really connected to Washington or good field leadership He grows through several postings abroad to finally be the man setting up the US Embassy in Moscow Married to a Norwegian and seldom home until after World War II, he felt he represented the best of America without truly being at home in America In spite of his sense of isolation in the Service, he had outstanding access to the President and was asked to take on the really big roles Its interesting to watch his immaturity harden up into the attitudes towards the diplomatic service that he would hold at least into 1950 if I could enumerate them, I saw Only the people in the field know what s going on Washington is filled with dangerously ignorant amateurs The people in the field don t have the long view because nobody tells them anything, so they can t act in the US s best interest Only the staff in the first US Embassy in Moscow understood the horrors of Communism and Stalin, especially George Truman was manipulated by the Commies George was doomed to be misunderstood and often misquoted The National War College, set up by Kennan and 2 other men, was a strategic breakthrough for research, training, and advancement of US military and diplomatic leaders this one is actually true Prolific academic writing is the way to run diplomacy Its better to send a 20 page wire as a briefing to Washington than to actually talk to someone.Kennan no doubt saw a lot with clarity that others lacked, and freely admits to those big mistakes he made Still, through all this, the reader s view of history will not change appreciably, and with the tidal wave of quotes from his personal, Foreign Service, and public writings, you will gain a sense of why his memos went largely unread If he had had Galbraith s sense of style and composition, he would have been intensely effective in the 30 s and 40 s, rather than out in the cold


  8. says:

    George Kennan s Memoirs, 1925 1950 tells the story of Kennan s rise to become one of the United States leading diplomats and major architects of the Cold War The book contains Kennan s detailed analysis on Germany, Russia, as well as other countries that got pulled into the Cold War What might be apparent to the reader what seemed to be the case to me was that his commentary around his quoted analysis seemed rather sensible but within the analysis itself, it seemed eerily nationalistic, tal George Kennan s Memoirs, 1925 1950 tells the story of Kennan s rise to become one of the United States leading diplomats and major architects of the Cold War The book contains Kennan s detailed analysis on Germany, Russia, as well as other countries that got pulled into the Cold War What might be apparent to the reader what seemed to be the case to me was that his commentary around his quoted analysis seemed rather sensible but within the analysis itself, it seemed eerily nationalistic, talking about the great pride of the German peoples, for example, or at turns orientialist, when he discusses how the United States can t trust the Russians Another issue worth discussing is Kennan s Cold War containment policy He tells in the book that he never intended it to become policy, but it was only a specified tactic, as with the Greek Civil War Even so, the result of the so called containment of the Communist spread into Greece led to irrational fears that the Soviet Union was orchestrating this spread there, when in fact the Communist party had overwhelming democratic support in Greece The result of the Greek Civil War was British and American support of a dictator.If you read the book, read with a vigilant eye


  9. says:

    This is the second time I read this classic memoir Having just read his somewhat disappointing new biography by Gaddis, I thought I d go back to the source again, but sadly it didn t impress me as much as it did the first time I read it years ago Maybe it s just that I m older now, but Kennan for whom I have immense respect seems almost petulant at times, and clearly resents the way he has been treated over the years by the State Department and by a whole parade of luminaries and dimminari This is the second time I read this classic memoir Having just read his somewhat disappointing new biography by Gaddis, I thought I d go back to the source again, but sadly it didn t impress me as much as it did the first time I read it years ago Maybe it s just that I m older now, but Kennan for whom I have immense respect seems almost petulant at times, and clearly resents the way he has been treated over the years by the State Department and by a whole parade of luminaries and dimminaries That said, he is a superb writer, and his inside account of some of the most pivotal moments of 20th century history remains as compelling as ever Maybe if I read it a third time some years from now, I ll be in aforgiving frame of mind


  10. says:

    This is a fantastic book Like all information, it implicitly but deeply condemns our current foreign policy I must say the insights about where policy goes awry remain fresh and insightful.


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