Kennan, George F(rost)

Kennan, George F(rost)

biographical name

(born Feb. 16, 1904, Milwaukee, Wis., U.S.—died March 17, 2005, Princeton, N.J.) U.S. diplomat and historian. After graduating from Princeton University in 1925, he entered the U.S. foreign service, studied Russian language and culture at the University of Berlin (1929–31), and was assigned to the U.S. embassy in Moscow (1933–35). He served in Vienna, Prague, Berlin, and Lisbon, returning to Moscow during and after World War II. His concept of containment was presented in a highly influential article, signed “X,” that appeared in Foreign Affairs magazine in July 1947. Kennan questioned the wisdom of conciliatory U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union, which he considered appeasement, and advocated instead U.S. counterpressure wherever the Soviets threatened to expand; this approach became the basis of U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union during the first decades of the Cold War. After brief service as an adviser to the State Department, he joined the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton as professor of historical studies (1956–74); his tenure there was interrupted by a stint as U.S. ambassador to Yugoslavia (1961–63). He won simultaneous Pulitzer Prizes and National Book Awards for Russia Leaves the War (1956) and Memoirs, 1925–50 (1967).

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Kennan, George F(rost), visit

Seen & Heard

What made you look up Kennan, George F(rost)? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.