Kennan, George F.

Kennan, George F. (Frost)

(1904–  ) diplomat, historian; born in Milwaukee, Wis. Educated at Princeton (B.A. 1925) and at the Berlin Seminary for Oriental Languages (diploma, 1930), he served as U.S. foreign service officer (1926–53) in Geneva, Hamburg, Berlin, Estonia, Latvia, Moscow, Vienna, Prague, Lisbon, and London; he also served as U.S. ambassador to the U.S.S.R. (1952) and Yugoslavia (1961–63). In 1947, using the pen name “Mr. X” (because he was then with the State Department), he wrote a famous article in Foreign Policy, "The Sources of Soviet Conduct," that effectively spelled out what would be the West's policy of "containment" toward Soviet Communism for the next 40 years. His first book, American Diplomacy, 1900–1950 (1951), was praised on both literary and historiographical grounds and he won Pulitzer Prizes for two later works, Russia Leaves the War (1956) and Memoirs: 1925–1950 (1967). His subsequent publications continued to stir interest because his views, if sometimes out of step with official U.S. policy—including his prediction of the demise of the U.S.S.R.—were often vindicated by history; even when events contradicted his views, he was recognized for having raised the level of public debate. He opposed the division of Germany after World War II, the development of the H-bomb, American participation in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and reliance on nuclear weapons for national defense. His campaign against instruments of mass destruction made him a hero of the antinuclear movement; his 1980 plea to the great powers to abolish such weapons articulated the fears and frustrations of an era. In 1956 he became a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.
References in classic literature ?
Give him a bow, and find a full sheath of arrows for Little John," said Robin joyfully.
I have hit an ash twig at forty yards," said Little John.
And here they built a ruddy fire and sat down to the meat and ale, Robin Hood in the center with Will Stutely on the one hand and Little John on the other.
Little art thou indeed, and small of bone and sinew, therefore shalt thou be christened Little John, and I will be thy godfather.
Little John shall thou be called henceforth, and Little John shall it be.
Then when the feast was ready they all sat down, but Robin placed Little John at his right hand, for he was henceforth to be the second in the band.
Now by Saint Dunstan," cried Little John, springing to his feet, "more than one of you shall rue it an you lay finger upon me.
You remember dear little John Harmon, before he went to school?
And then I hope I shall have my little John Harmon to show you.
Such a one,'' said Robin, ``is my Lieutenant, Little John, who is even now absent on an expedition as far as the borders of Scotland; and I will own to your Majesty, that I am sometimes displeased by the freedom of his councils but, when I think twice, I cannot be long angry with one who can have no motive for his anxiety save zeal for his master's service.