The Sources of Soviet Conduct
Political Ideas in the Twentieth Century
Atomic Weapons and American Policy
The Illusion of Disengagement
On Peaceful Coexistence
The Search for Stability
The Challenge of Change in the Soviet Bloc
The Practice of Partnership
The Framework of East-West Reconciliation
The Limits of Détente
After the Cold War
On Power: The Nature of Soviet Power
The Rise, Fall and Future of Détente
What Went Wrong With Arms Control?
Containment: 40 Years Later
Containment Then and Now
Beyond the Cold War
From Cold War Toward Trusting Peace
Toward the Post-Cold War World
America's Stake in the Soviet Future
Beyond Boris Yeltsin
Can Russia Change?
Russia Leaves the West
The Costs of Renewed Confrontation
Mission to Moscow
Why Authoritarian Stability Is a Myth
What Has Moscow Done?
Rebuilding U.S.-Russian Relations
Moscow's Modernization Dilemma
Is Russia Charting a New Foreign Policy?
The Dying Bear
Russia's Demographic Disaster
Managing the New Cold War
What Moscow and Washington Can Learn From the Last One
Russia's Perpetual Geopolitics
Putin Returns to the Historical Pattern
Putin's Foreign Policy
The Quest to Restore Russia’s Rightful Place
The Revival of the Russian Military
How Moscow Reloaded
Why Putin Took Crimea
The Gambler in the Kremlin
Trump and Russia
The Right Way to Manage Relations
Why New Russia Sanctions Won't Change Moscow's Behavior
Washington's Approach Lacks Clear Goals
The Kremlin's Latest Crackdown on Independent Media
Russia's New Foreign Agent Law in Context
Containing Russia, Again
An Adversary Attacked the United States—It’s Time to Respond
Putin's Past Explains Russia's Future
What to Expect After the Election
Has a New Cold War Really Begun?
Why the Term Shouldn't Apply to Today's Great-Power Tensions
The word "containment," of course, was not new in the year 1946. What was new, perhaps, was its use with relation to the Soviet Union and Soviet-American relations. What brought the word to public attention in this connection was its use in an article that appeared in 1947, in this magazine, under the title of "The Sources of Soviet Conduct," and was signed with what was supposed to have been an anonymous X. This piece was not originally written for publication; it was written privately for our first secretary of defense, James Forrestal, who had sent me a paper on communism and asked me to comment on it. It was written, as I recall, in December 1946, in the northwest corner room on the ground floor of the National War College building. At the time I was serving as deputy commandant for foreign affairs at the college. I suppose it is fitting that I, for my sins, should try to explain something about how the word "containment" came to be used in that document, and what it was meant to signify.
One must try to picture the situation that existed in that month of December 1946. The Second World War was only a year and some months in the past. U.S. armed forces were still in the process of demobilization; so, too, though to a smaller extent (because the Russians proposed to retain a much larger peacetime establishment than we did), were those of the Soviet Union.
In no way did the Soviet Union appear to me, at that moment, as a military threat to this country. Russia was at that time utterly exhausted by the exertions and sacrifices of the recent war. Something like 25 million of its people had been killed. The physical destruction had been appalling. In a large portion of the territory of European Russia, the devastation had to be seen to be believed. Reconstruction alone was obviously going to take several years. The need for peace, and the thirst for
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