Skip to main content
Support
Event

Henry Kissinger & Jimmy Carter in Africa: Race & the Cold War

In 1976, Africa was at the heart of the Cold War. As 36,000 Cubans flowed into Angola and Jimmy Carter battled for the presidency, Henry Kissinger tried—and failed—to achieve his final diplomatic coup: forging peace in Rhodesia. It would be the Carter administration, working with the British, with African heads of state, and with the leaders of the liberation movements, that would help usher Rhodesia to independence. In Rhodesia the essence of American foreign policy during the Cold War—stopping Soviet expansion—slammed up against the most raw and explosive aspect of American domestic politics: racism.

Date & Time

Sep. 23, 2016
1:00pm – 3:00pm

Location

6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
Get Directions

Henry Kissinger & Jimmy Carter in Africa: Race & the Cold War

"[Nancy Mitchell's] extraordinary research has resulted in a truly definitive account of one of the most challenging & important aspects of my presidency." -Jimmy Carter

In 1976, Africa was at the heart of the Cold War. As 36,000 Cubans flowed into Angola and Jimmy Carter battled for the presidency, Henry Kissinger tried—and failed—to achieve his final diplomatic coup: forging peace in Rhodesia. It would be the Carter administration, working with the British, with African heads of state, and with the leaders of the liberation movements, that would help usher Rhodesia to independence. In Rhodesia the essence of American foreign policy during the Cold War—stopping Soviet expansion—slammed up against the most raw and explosive aspect of American domestic politics: racism.

The contrast between Carter's astute policy toward Rhodesia with his bumbling policy toward the war in the Horn of Africa helps clarify his foreign policy. The Carter administration anticipated the crisis in Rhodesia and cooperated effectively with London, whereas it failed to prepare for the war in the Horn and was hampered by the inept advice proffered by its European partners.

Drawing on candid interviews with Carter, as well as key U.S. and foreign diplomats, and on a broad array of international archival sources, this study reevaluates the strengths and the weaknesses of both Henry Kissinger and Jimmy Carter.

Nancy Mitchell is a professor of history at North Carolina State University.  Her previous book, The Danger of Dreams, is a study of the clash between German and American imperialism in Latin America at the turn of the twentieth century.  Her articles have appeared in Diplomatic HistoryCold War History, and The International History Review, and she contributed the chapter on Jimmy Carter in The Cambridge History of the Cold War.

James G. Hershberg, Professor of History and International Affairs at George Washington University, will chair the event.

Piero Gleijeses, Professor of American Foreign Policy at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, will offer commentary.


Hosted By

Cold War International History Project

The Cold War International History Project supports the full and prompt release of historical materials by governments on all sides of the Cold War. Through an award winning Digital Archive, the Project allows scholars, journalists, students, and the interested public to reassess the Cold War and its many contemporary legacies. It is part of the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program.  Read more

History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program uses history to improve understanding of important global dynamics, trends in international relations, and American foreign policy.  Read more

Africa Program

The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial U.S.–Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, including our blog Africa Up Close, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in U.S.-Africa relations.    Read more

Event Feedback