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NEWPORT, R.I. – Ever wonder why the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) curriculum includes classics like Thucydides?  Former NWC Professor John Lewis Gaddis made a compelling argument in the first evening lecture of the 2011-12 academic year on Oct. 3.

His lecture, “George Kennan and American Grand Strategy during the Cold War,” focused on a recently completed authorized biography of George F. Kennan (1904-2005).  The lecture is available for viewing on NWC’s YouTube channel at

The views expressed by the speaker in this video are the speaker’s own and do not reflect the views of the Naval War College, Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or any other branch or agency of the U.S. Government.

More than anyone else, Kennan devised the grand strategy of “containment” in the aftermath of World War II. The biography was a thirty-year project, based on close collaboration with Kennan. 

Many of the issues discussed relate directly to the Strategy and Policy curriculum at NWC.

This evening lecture was the International Lecture, sponsored by the Naval War College Foundation in memory of Edgar W.B. Fairchild, a former Foundation trustee, through the generosity of Mr. Fairchild’s estate.

Professor Gaddis is the Robert A. Lovett Professor of History and Director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy at Yale University, where he teaches courses in Cold War history, grand strategy, international studies, and biography.

Educated at the University of Texas in Austin, he has also taught at Ohio University, the United States Naval War College, the University of Helsinki, Princeton University, and Oxford University.

He has published numerous books, including The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1941-1947 (1972); Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security (1982); The Long Peace: Inquiries into the History of the Cold War (1987); We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History (1997); The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past (2002); Surprise, Security, and the American Experience (2004); The Cold War: A New History (2006); and George F. Kennan: An American Life (which will appear in November 2011).

From Naval War College Public Affairs
Posted by Cmdr. Carla McCarthy