June 2014

Henry Wallace, Century of the Common Man, 1942

Vice President Henry Wallace gave this speech in 1942, a time when Americans were debating wartime strategy and America’s role in the post-World War II order. Wallace’s speech, also known as “The Price of Free World Victory,” reiterated support for Franklin Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” and criticized Henry Luce’s concept of the “American Century.” Wallace declared that the United States had an obligation to contribute to the war and to the post-war settlement. He described a liberal world system in which freedom, fairness, and opportunity would promote global peace. – M.B. Masur, St.

Elliott Roosevelt, As He Saw It, 1941

On August 9, 1941, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met secretly in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. From August 9-12, the two leaders hosted a series of meetings on Roosevelt’s flagship, the U.S.S. Augusta, and the British battleship, the H.M.S. Prince of Wales to coordinate Anglo-American strategy and discuss a joint public declaration of war aims. The resultant statement, The Atlantic Charter, was publicized at the conclusion of the conference.

Barrett to Acheson on Public Relations and NSC-68, 1950

In January 1950, President Harry Truman requested a comprehensive review of U.S. national security policies for later consideration by the National Security Council. Responding to the president’s charge, the State Department Policy Planning Staff, led by Paul Nitze, completed National Security Memorandum 68 (NSC-68) in April 1950. Identifying the Soviet Union as the primary threat to the United States, NSC-68 depicted Soviet leaders as fanatical totalitarians bent on world domination. Concluding that the U.S.

The Shanghai “Joint Communiqué” (February 27, 1972)

In February 1972, President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China captured the world’s attention. The trip was filled with photo-ops, including President Nixon and Chairman Mao Zedong engaging in cordial conversation. The most important diplomatic outcome of the visit was the issuance of the “Joint Communiqué” on Sino-American relations. – M.B. Masur, St. Anselm College


Margaret MacMillan, Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World (New York, 2007).