Events

The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book

September 08, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
In The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book, Peter Finn and Petra Couvée bring readers intimately close to the charming, passionate, and complex artist that was Boris Pasternak. First to obtain CIA files providing concrete proof of the agency’s involvement, the authors give us a literary thriller that takes us back to a fascinating period of the Cold War—to a time when literature had the power to stir the world.

FDR, the Jews, and the Holocaust: Resolving the Controversy

May 19, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Nearly seventy-five years after World War II, scholars hotly despite whether FDR was a hero of the Jews or a bystander or worse to the Nazi’s persecution and slaughter of Jews. In this talk Lichtman will draw upon the findings of his prize-winning book, FDR and the Jews (co-authored with Richard Breitman), to resolve the controversy. He will present a new portrait of a consummate politician— compassionate but also pragmatic—struggling with opposing priorities under perilous conditions.

Bankrupt: Detroit and the Future of Urban America

May 12, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Detroit is the largest American municipality to have declared bankruptcy. Leading urban historian Thomas Sugrue examines the roots of the city's fiscal crisis, its implications for urban finance, pensions, and the future of American cities, and examines the opportunities and obstacles that Detroit faces in its efforts to restructure its local government, redevelop its downtown and neighborhoods, and reorganize its troubled economy.

Covert Legions: U.S. Army Intelligence and the Defense of Europe, 1944-1949

May 05, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
As the Third Reich collapsed, Soviet forces moved deep into Central Europe, and the United States had to adjust rapidly to the new political landscape. The intelligence services of the U.S. Army assumed a key role in informing Washington national security policy toward Europe during this critical period. This presentation discusses the early Cold War operations of U.S. Army intelligence as it sought to apprehend war criminals, suppress Nazi subversion, contain communism, and monitor the Red Army.

Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev's Adaptation, Reagan's Engagement, and the End of the Cold War

April 28, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
James Graham Wilson takes a long view of the end of the Cold War, from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to Operation Desert Storm. Wilson argues that adaptation, improvisation, and engagement by individuals in positions of power ended the specter of a nuclear holocaust. Eschewing the notion of a coherent grand strategy to end the Cold War, Wilson illuminates how leaders made choices and reacted to events they did not foresee.

America's Great Game: The CIA's Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East

April 21, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
The CIA has an almost diabolical reputation in the Arab world. Yet, in the early years of its existence, the 1940s and 1950s, the Agency was distinctly pro-Arab, lending its support to the leading Arab nationalist of the day, Gamal Nasser, and conducting an anti-Zionist publicity campaign at home in the U.S. Drawing on a wide range of sources, Hugh Wilford uncovers the world of early CIA “Arabism,” its origins, characteristic forms, and eventual demise.

‘Take Your Choice!’: Historical Reflections on the Act of Voting

April 07, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
The secret ballot is now considered the gold standard for fair elections around the globe. However, in the aftermath of the American and French Revolutions, voting in secrecy held little immediate mass appeal in the US or Europe, and the secret ballot was used in combination with a wide variety of voting techniques. The history of the fraught introduction of the secret ballot on both sides of the Atlantic provides an opportunity to explore how conceptions of the business of choice-making have changed since the Age of Revolutions and also to reconsider how we vote today.

An Unwanted Visionary: Gorbachev's Unrealized Ambitions and the Soviets' Retreat from Asia

March 31, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Radchenko will offer a fresh interpretation of Mikhail Gorbachev’s foreign policy by showing how the Soviet leader tried to reshape the international order through engagement with China and India, and why his vision for a Soviet-led Asia ultimately failed. Relying on newly declassified records from Russian, Chinese and other archives, he will discuss lost opportunities and recount painful legacies of Soviet retrenchment from Asia.

A History of the Iraqi Crisis: France, the United States, and Iraq, 1991-2003

March 28, 2014 // 2:00pm4:00pm
Frédéric Bozo will speak on his new book "A History of the Iraqi Crisis: France, the United States, and Iraq, 1991-2003". Based on exclusive French archival sources and numerous interviews with former officials in both countries, Frédéric Bozo retraces the history of the international crisis that culminated in the 2003 Iraqi conflict.

Why We Fight: The Politics of World War II

March 24, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
The conventional wisdom suggests that moderates matter little. In her new book, Why We Fight: Congress and the Politics of World War II, Nancy Beck Young proves otherwise. Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman faced a fractious Congress riven by hardcore ideologues, circumstances that empowered moderates—from both parties—to cut deals on economic but not social justice policies. The dominant patterns for postwar politics emerged with liberalism seeming less oriented toward the welfare state and more to the vital center warfare state.

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Experts & Staff

  • Christian F. Ostermann // Director, History and Public Policy Program; Global Europe; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • James Person // Deputy Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • Pieter Biersteker // Editorial Assistant
  • Laura Deal // Catalog Specialist
  • Charles Kraus // Program Assistant
  • Evan Pikulski // Program Assistant
  • Roy O. Kim // Program Assistant