Academic journal article Military Review

THE HAWK AND THE DOVE: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War

Academic journal article Military Review

THE HAWK AND THE DOVE: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War

Article excerpt

THE HAWK AND THE DOVE: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War, Nicholas Thompson, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2009, 403 pages, $27.50.

The Hawk and the Dove is an engaging history and biography about two major players in the Cold War: Paul Nitze and George Kennan. Born just three years apart, these two Cold War protagonists lived long enough to witness the dissolution of the Soviet Union and died just months apart (Nitze in 2004 at age 97; Kennan in 2005 at 101).

Throughout his long career in and out of government, Nitze was known as a man of action rather than a deep thinker. His credits include serving as vice chairman of the Strategic Bombing Survey during and after World War II, director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department (the second person to hold the post; Kennan was the first, with Nitze serving as his deputy); principal author of National Security Council Report NSC-68, which shaped U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War; and cofounder of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Kennan, by contrast, was almost universally regarded as a sage, even by those who disagreed with him politically. His greatest source of fame was his authorship, under the pseudonym "X," of a 1947 Foreign Affairs article titled "The Sources of Soviet Conduct," though his reputation in the State Department had been established a year earlier with his writing of the "long telegram" from Moscow, which presaged some of the arguments that would later appear in the "X" article. Both writings offered incisive historical and psychological analysis of the Soviet Union, its history and leaders, and it earned Kennan his next job as director of Policy Planning. …

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