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October 16, 2002
Diplomat Warren Zimmerman Discusses New Book on American Imperialism at the Library of Congress on Oct. 24
Renowned diplomat and author Warren Zimmermann will discuss his new book "First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made Their Country a World Power" (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2002) at the Library of Congress, on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 4:30 p.m. in the Mary Pickford Theater, third floor, James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Avenue, S.E. in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the Hispanic Division as part of the "Ambassador's Lectures" series, the program is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required.
Zimmermann analyzes a critical period in United States history between 1898 and 1909 which consolidated the country as a great imperial power. On April 25, 1898, the United States went to war with Spain over Cuba. Within the next two months, the U.S. Navy would destroy the Spanish fleet off Manila and seize the tiny Spanish-held island of Guam. By 1903, a plan was in effect to link America's Atlantic and Pacific holdings via a canal across Central America. At the conclusion of his presidency in 1909, Theodore Roosevelt welcomed home the Great White Fleet, 16 first-class battleships he had sent around the world one year earlier as a show of American power. Never again would the United States acquire as much territory as it did at the turn of the 20th century, thereby establishing the country as a global power.
In addition to Theodore Roosevelt, Zimmermann explores the lives of the remarkable men who exploited the readiness of the American people to support a surge of overseas expansion: naval strategist Alfred T. Mahan, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Secretary of State John Hay, and corporate lawyer turned colonial administrator Elihu Root. Faced with difficult choices, these men-all close friends-instituted new political and diplomatic policies that set the stage for U.S. foreign policy for the century to come.
Warren Zimmerman has spent more than 30 years as an officer in the U.S. Foreign Service. His posts included France, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Venezuela and the Soviet Union. A former Ambassador to Yugoslavia, Zimmermann has taught at Columbia and Johns Hopkins Universities and is the author of "Origins of a Catastrophe: Yugoslavia and Its Destroyers" which won the American Academy of Diplomacy Book Award in 1997.
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