Armstrong, Hamilton Fish, 1893-1973
Hamilton Fish Armstrong was born, the youngest of seven children, April 7, 1893, in a house on West 10th Street. His parents, D. Maitland Armstrong (1836-1918) and Helen Neilson (1845-1927) named him for his great uncle, who was Grant's Secretary of State. His father was an artist, working especially with stained glass, and a one-time Consul General to Italy. Armstrong grew up in New York City and received his education at Gilman Country School in Baltimore, Maryland, and at Princeton University from which he received the A.B. in 1916.
Following his graduation Armstrong worked in the business department at The New Republic before entering the army in 1917. Commissioned a second lieutenant in October 1917, Armstrong advanced to first lieutenant and became Military Attache to the Serbian War Mission to the United States in December 1917. In November 1918, he received orders to Belgrade to become Assistant Military Attache to Serbia where in January 1919 he became Acting Military Attache.
Upon his military discharge in June 1919, Armstrong returned to New York to work on the editorial staff of the New York Evening Post, becoming the paper's special correspondent to Eastern Europe in 1921. His time in Serbia kindled in him a lifelong interest in foreign affairs, and in 1921 he became involved with the newly-formed Council on Foreign Relations, created to ensure that the United States' growing role in world affairs be informed and responsible. In 1922 Armstrong accepted a position as managing editor of the Council's magazine, Foreign Affairs, at the request of editor Archibald Cary Coolidge. Upon Coolidge's death in 1928, Armstrong became editor, a position he held until his retirement in 1972. Armstrong also served as the first Executive Director of the Council (1922-1928) and as a Council director from 1928 until 1972.
As editor, Armstrong travelled frequently, visiting with policymakers including King Alexander of Yugoslavia, Raymond Poincaré, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Neville Chamberlain. He was also well acquainted with many prominent Americans, such as Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Henry A. Kissinger. He belonged to many important committees and foundations: member of the President's Advisory Committee on Political Refugees; three times delegate to the International Studies Conference (1929, 1933, 1935); trustee and twice president of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation; trustee and once president of the New York Society Library; and trustee of the New York International House.
Armstrong held many prominent positions during the Second World War. From 1942-44, he served on the United States State Department's Advisory Committee on Post-War Foreign Policies, which produced the original plans for the United Nations. In 1944, he became the special assistant to the United States ambassador in London with the personal rank of minister, before serving in 1944 and 1945 as special adviser to Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, working on the charter for the United Nations. At the San Francisco Conference in 1945, he was one of three senior advisers to the United States delegation.
Armstrong wrote prolifically, penning numerous magazine articles–forty-nine for Foreign Affairs alone–and thirteen books (he edited five others). His books include The New Balkans (1926), Where the East Begins (1929), Hitler's Reich: The First Phase (1933), Europe Between Wars? (1934), Can We Be Neutral? (1936) with Allen W. Dulles, "We or They:" Two Worlds in Conflict (1937), When There Is No Peace (1939), Can America Stay Neutral? (1939) with Allen W. Dulles, Chronology of Failure (1940), The Calculated Risk (1947), Tito and Goliath (1951), Those Days (1963), and Peace and Counterpeace: From Wilson to Hitler (1971). He edited The Book of New York Verse (1918), Foreign Affairs Bibliography (1933) with William L. Langer, The Foreign Policy of the Powers (1935), The Foreign Affairs Reader (1947), and The Foreign Affairs Fifty-Year Reader (1972).
His activities received much recognition, both at home and abroad. His time in Serbia earned him the Order of the Serbian Red Cross (1918), the Order of St. Sava Fifth Class (1918), and the Chevalier of Order of the White Eagle with Swords (1919). He was awarded the Order of the Crown (Rumania) in 1924 and the Order of the White Lion of Czechoslovakia in 1937. In that year he was made an officer of the Legion of Honor of France and became a commander in 1947. He was appointed a Commander of the British Empire in 1972. He received honorary degrees from Brown (1942), Yale (1957), the University of Basel (1960), Princeton (1961), Columbia (1963), and Harvard (1963).
Armstrong married three times. Helen MacGregor Byrne became his wife in 1918, and they had one daughter, Helen MacGregor (later Mrs. Edwin Gamble) on September 3, 1923. Armstrong and Byrne divorced in 1938. Armstrong married Carman Barnes in 1945, a marriage which ended in a 1951 divorce. In that same year Armstrong married Christa von Tippelskirch. Armstrong retired from Foreign Affairs in 1972, the fiftieth year of its publication, and died after a long illness on April 24, 1973, at the age of 80.
Kennan, George F. (George Frost), 1904-2005
George F. Kennan (1904-2005) was a diplomat and a historian, noted especially for his influence on United States policy towards the Soviet Union during the Cold War and for his scholarly expertise in the areas of Russian history and foreign policy. While with the Foreign Service, Kennan advocated a policy of "containment" that influenced United States relations with the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War and served in various positions in European embassies, as well as ambassador to the Soviet Union. His career as a historian was spent at the Institute for Advanced Study, where he continued to analyze the history of Russia, Soviet Union and United States foreign policies, and foreign affairs.
Kennan was educated at St. John's Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin and earned his B.A. degree at Princeton University in 1925, where he studied history with an emphasis on modern European diplomacy. Following graduation, he entered the Foreign Service. His first post was as vice consul in Geneva, and in the next year he was transferred to Hamburg, Germany. In 1928, Kennan entered a training program though the Foreign Service, studying Russian language, history and culture at Berlin University. The United States did not yet have diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, and so Kennan was assigned to "listening posts" around the U.S.S.R. in Tallinn, Estonia (1927) and in Riga, Latvia and Kaunas, Lithuania (1931-1933).
His first assignment in Moscow came in 1933 under William C. Bullitt, the first United States ambassador to the Soviet Union, aiding in the establishment of diplomatic relations between Washington and the Kremlin for the first time since 1917. He held positions as third secretary from 1933 to 1934, second secretary from 1935 to 1936, and from 1944 to 1946, minister-counselor (the second highest rank at the embassy), first under W. Averell Harriman and then under General Walter Bedell Smith. During this period, he was also appointed to positions in Vienna (1935), Prague (1938), Berlin (1939), Lisbon (1942), and London (1944). Kennan was detained in Berlin for five months after United States' entry into World War II.
Kennan rose to prominence in February 1946 when he wrote what became known as the "Long Telegram." Written in response to an inquiry from the U.S. Treasury regarding Moscow's refusal to support the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, the telegram outlined Kennan's assessment of the psychology of the leaders of the Soviet Union and provided principles on which the United States should base policies towards the Soviet Union. Kennan wrote that Stalin was "impervious to the logic of reason but highly sensitive to the logic of force," by which he meant primarily diplomatic and economic force more so than military. The telegram resonated in Washington, D.C.--although the interpretation of the Soviet threat became predominantly described as a military one--and Kennan became an influential figure in the State Department on Soviet affairs. Kennan further developed his views in "The Sources of Soviet Conduct" published under the pseudonym X in Foreign Affairs in July 1947. In this article, he used the term "containment" to describe his philosophy for dealing with the spread of Soviet power and influence. Again, this was interpreted by others in Washington as a military strategy, although Kennan intended it to be primarily achieved through diplomacy, economic sanctions, and covert action--anything short of war. Containment became one of the primary rationales for United States' Cold War policies, including the Marshall Plan, the founding of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) in 1949, the commitment of American forces in Southeast Asia in 1965, and the Reagan administration arms buildup during the 1980s.
In April 1946, Kennan returned to Washington, D.C., where he taught at the National War College, and in 1947, he was appointed director of the Policy Planning Staff in the State Department. In this capacity, he was a principle architect of the Marshall Plan, which sent billions of dollars of aid to help rebuild Western Europe following World War II. When Dean Acheson became Secretary of State in 1949, Kennan remained in the State Department as one of his principal advisors. However, during this period Kennan became increasingly critical of United States policy, especially the military interpretation of containment and the entry of UN troops into North Korea, and so in 1950 Kennan took a leave of absence to devote himself to research and scholarship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.
Kennan returned to the State Department in March 1952 when President Harry S. Truman appointed him Ambassador to the U.S.S.R. The assignment was short-lived, however. Kept under heavy surveillance by the Soviets, in October 1952 he compared conditions to those he suffered under his Nazi internment during World War II, and the Soviet government declared him persona non grata, which forced his return to the United States. Because of policy differences between Kennan and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles (who found containment too passive), Dulles employed a technicality to force Kennan's retirement from the State Department in 1953.
He returned to the Institute for Advanced Study, where he became a professor in the School of Historical Studies in 1956. Kennan became a prolific and respected diplomatic historian, studying modern European and Russian history, international relations, and American foreign policy and diplomacy. He also remained an important, often critical, voice in the ongoing debate about American foreign policy, advocating the use of diplomacy rather than military force and for foreign policy that was "very modest and restrained." Kennan was critical of the buildup of conventional and nuclear weapons during the arms race, which many argued for in the name of containment. He also advocated against military involvement in Vietnam, indicating that it was not an area of the world critical to American security. Later in his career, Kennan became a supporter of Russian and Soviet studies in the United States, identifying scholarship as a productive means to establish favorable relations with Moscow.
Over the course of his career, Kennan wrote numerous influential and critically acclaimed books, including American Diplomacy 1900-1950 (1951), Russia Leaves the War (1956), Russia and the West Under Lenin and Stalin (1961), two volumes of memoirs (1967, 1972), The Decline of Bismarck's European Order (1979), The Nuclear Delusion (1982), and Around the Cragged Hill (1993). He won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for Russia Leaves the War and the other for the first volume of his memoirs. Though he remained at the Institute for Advanced Study until his retirement in 1974, Kennan did return to government service briefly on two occasions, as ambassador to Yugoslavia from 1961 until 1963 for President John F. Kennedy and traveling to Switzerland in 1967 as a representative for the State Department to help convince Svetlana Alliluyeva, the daughter of Josef Stalin, to immigrate to the United States.
George Frost Kennan was born on February 16, 1904 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Kossuth Kent Kennan, a lawyer, and Florence (James) Kennan. He met Annelise Sorensen of Norway while studying in Berlin and they married in 1931. The Kennans had four children: Grace Kennan Warnecke, Joan Kennan, Wendy Kennan, and Christopher J. Kennan. Through the course of his career, Kennan was the recipient of many honors for his work in the field of international affairs, including the Albert Einstein Peace Prize (1981), the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (1982), the Gold Medal in History of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1984), the FDR Freedom from Fear Award (1987), and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1989, the highest civilian honor in the United States). George Kennan died on March 17, 2005 in Princeton, New Jersey at the age of 101.