Date of Award

Fall 12-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Dr. Gunter Bischof

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Dupont

Third Advisor

Dr. Marc Landry III


Despite historians describing the 1970s as a time of détente, both National Security Advisors that dominated America’s foreign policy pursued harsh stances against the Soviet Union. Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski sabotaged peace talks in order help the United States keep its edge against the other world superpower. Most historians point to the similarities between these two men, but what is most often left out of the narrative is that both men witnessed persecution at the hands of totalitarian governments: Kissinger by the Nazis and Brzezinski by both the Nazis and the Soviets. This influence is strong in their first works written at Harvard University, where they met Dr. Carl J. Friedrich and Hannah Arendt, both German émigrés. This paper will explore how European intellectuals, as well as their own European heritage, predisposed both Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski in their hawkish stances against the Soviet Union.


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