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The Dissent PapersThe Voices of Diplomats in the Cold War and Beyond$
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Hannah Gurman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231158725

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231158725.001.0001

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The Pen as Sword

The Pen as Sword

George Kennan and the Politics of Authorship in the Early Cold War

(p.21) one The Pen as Sword
The Dissent Papers

Hannah Gurman

Columbia University Press

This chapter explores the politics of authorship in the State Department during the early Cold War. In 1924, Congress passed the Rogers Act, which transformed the State Department from an organization of elites into a meritocracy open to all capable Americans. This expansion had two consequences. While the expansion offered the prospect of increased influence for the institution, it also increasingly diluted the role of individual diplomats. This culture was ingrained in the institution during the Roosevelt administration, as seen from the experiences of Russian specialist George Kennan. Kennan received special training from the State Department in Riga, Latvia. Kennan's education confirmed his existing views that Soviet Union was not a “fit ally” for the United States—a goal former President Franklin D. Roosevelt was optimistic about. The chapter follows the trajectory of Kennan's habit of challenging the status quo in writing.

Keywords:   politics of authorship, State Department, early Cold War, Rogers Act, meritocracy, Roosevelt administration, George Kennan, Soviet Union, Franklin D. Roosevelt, United States

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