The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War

The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War

Nicholas Thompson

Language: English

Pages: 432

ISBN: 0312658869

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Only two Americans held positions of great influence throughout the Cold War. The two men embodied opposing strategies for winning the conflict. Yet they dined together, attended the weddings of each other's children, and remained lifelong friends.

Paul Nitze was a consummate insider who believed the best way to avoid a nuclear clash was to prepare to win one. George Kennan was a diplomat turned academic whose famous "X article" persuasively argued that we should contain the Soviet Union while waiting for it to collapse from within. A masterly double biography, The Hawk and the Dove "does an inspired job of telling the story of the Cold War through the careers of two of its most interesting and important figures" (The Washington Monthly).

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dug deeper into his pill bottles. As the leaders of the two superpowers self-medicated, and harmony between the two nations dissipated, Nitze was in Geneva, home base for the second round of SALT talks. The first agreement had temporarily slowed the arms race. Many hoped that a second would fundamentally reconfigure it. George Kennan happened to be in town too, researching his classic The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order. One night the Nitzes headed over to the Kennans’ apartment for

withering criticism of SALT, Kissinger, and Nixon. He disclosed the existence of Kissinger’s back channel, a revelation promptly leaked to the press. Not long afterward, in mid-June 1974, he stung his rival, now secretary of state. He quietly informed his old protégé Richard Perle about a small bit of careless wording in the SALT I treaty that could allow the Soviets to improve their nuclear submarine fleet. As Kissinger testified on Capitol Hill about his plans for the continuing negotiations,

USSBS, The Effects of Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 30. 46   He was struck: ibid., 9. 46   Years later: PHN, OH, HSTL, Aug. 4, 1975. 47   “Flash burns were”: USSBS, 23. 47   “The eyebrows of”: Hersey, Hiroshima, 29. 47   He would almost: Peter Nitze, author interview, March 6, 2008. 47   “If we see”: Turner Catledge, “Our Policy Stated,” NYT, June 24, 1941, 1. 47   “I like Stalin”: Robert Ferrell, Dear Bess, 522. 48   “He didn’t just”: Simon Sebag Montefiore, Young Stalin, 179.

international control of, proposed, 100, 106–8, 195–96 Kennan argues vs. dependence on, 4–5 Kennan attacks Nitze position on, in BBC lectures, 167–68 Kennan containment policy and, 63–64, 255 Kennan vs. Nitze on possible use of, 113 Khrushchev and testing of, 182 Korean War and, 124–25 leverage of, 101, 163–66, 255 missile defenses and, 224–26 mutally assured destruction and, 250–51 NATO and, 268 Nazi quest for, 44–45 Nitze and Shultz attempt to reduce, under Reagan, 299–300 Nitze

Illinois.” Grace dutifully took a message for her father about a dinner invitation—and was thrilled when she found out exactly which Mr. Stevenson had been on the line. Father and daughter headed over to the candidate’s white, wooden two-story house for dinner the night the Republican convention nominated Eisenhower for a second term. It was a lively evening, and the group kept the television on as Vice President Nixon gave his acceptance speech. When it came time for Eisenhower to talk,

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