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October 18, 2005

Melvyn Leffler to Lecture on Cold War on Nov. 10

Melvyn P. Leffler, Henry Alfred Kissinger Scholar in Foreign Policy and International Relations in the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, will present a lecture titled "Retreat from Armageddon? Khrushchev, Kennedy, Johnson and the Elusive Quest for Peace" at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10, in Room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C.

The event, which is sponsored by the Kluge Center, is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.

According to Leffler, who was appointed as the fourth Kissinger Scholar in January 2005, there were many attempts by policymakers in both Washington and Moscow to reduce the confrontational nature of the Cold War. One such episode occurred in the aftermath of the Cuban missile crisis. These efforts, however, repeatedly failed. Leffler will analyze 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.

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). Amon 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.

Created through the generosity of friends of the former secretary of state to honor him and emphasize the importance of foreign affairs, the Kissinger Chair offers outstanding thinkers and practitioners a unique opportunity to pursue advanced research in the largest and most international collection of library materials in the world. For more information about the Kissinger Chair or any of the other fellowships, grants and programs offered by the John W. Kluge Center, visit or call 202-707-3302.

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PR 05-224
ISSN 0731-3527

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