The Long Telegram
George Kennan and the Most Influential Cable in American History
Featuring Evan Thomas, in Conversation with Truman Library Director Kurt Graham
Tuesday, February 23 at 5:30 PM CST
Before the “Cold War,” there was “The Long Telegram.”
75 years ago this month, a Moscow-based U.S. diplomat named George Kennan sent an 8,000-word telegram to President Truman’s State Department. The “problem of how to cope with [the Soviets],” he argued presciently, “is undoubtedly the greatest task our diplomacy has ever faced and probably the greatest it will ever have to face.”
Today, “The Long Telegram” is regarded as a foundational U.S. document, right up there with the Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers and George Washington’s Farewell Address. As a sign of its enduring significance, the telegram’s 75th anniversary appears on top-ten lists of historic moments to note in 2021.
What influence did this 19-page cable have in 1946? And how does it continue to inform U.S. policy today?
Join us online for a conversation with Truman Library Director Kurt Graham and Evan Thomas, co-author of The Wise Men, the classic account of the American statesmen who rebuilt the world after the catastrophe of World War II. Thomas is a New York Times best-selling author and former writer, correspondent, and editor at Time and Newsweek; he has appeared on Meet the Press, The Colbert Report and more.
This is anything but a dry account of history. Expect a captivating blend of personal biography and historic drama as Evans introduces us to George Kennan and the genesis of America’s Cold War containment policy.
Check out the original “Long Telegram,” part of the historic holdings at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum.