TITLE: Retreat from Armageddon? Khrushchev, Kennedy, Johnson and the Elusive Quest for Peace
SPEAKER: Melvyn Leffler
EVENT DATE: 2005/11/10
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
Melvyn P. Leffler, Henry Alfred Kissinger Scholar in Foreign Policy and International Relations in the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, presented a lecture titled "Retreat from Armageddon? Khrushchev, Kennedy, Johnson and the Elusive Quest for Peace." According to Leffler, there were many attempts by policymakers in both Washington and Moscow to reduce the confrontational nature of the Cold War. Leffler analyzes the efforts of Nikita Khrushchev, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson and attempt to explain why they did not succeed. This analysis of the Cold War is the subject of a forthcoming book.
Speaker Biography: One of the country's leading authorities on modern U.S. foreign relations, Leffler received his doctorate from Ohio State University in 1972. He has been on the faculty of the Department of History at the University of Virginia since 1986. In 1993 he won the prestigious Bancroft Prize for his book "A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration and the Cold War" (Stanford University Press, 1992). Among his other books are "Struggle for Germany and the Origins of the Cold War" (German Historical Institute, 1996); "Specter of Communism: The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1917-1953" (Hill and Wang, 1994); and "Elusive Quest: America's Pursuit of European Stability and French Security, 1919-1933" (University of North Carolina Press, 1979). He was co-editor of "Origins of the Cold War: An International History" (Routledge, 1994). Leffler served in the office of the Secretary of Defense during the Carter Administration, where he worked on arms control and contingency planning as a fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1990 he was a member of the U.S. delegation to a joint Soviet-American symposium on the Cold War in Moscow and Washington. In 1993 and 1998, he was a senior fellow at the Nobel Peace Institute in Oslo, where he lectured on the Cold War. In 1994 he served as president of the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations.