Gorbachev standing in front of podium

Mikhail Gorbachev, 1931-2022

To many, Mikhail Gorbachev seemed to come out of nowhere in 1985 to become the leader of the USSR.  In some ways, his example supports the “great person” view of history, which is deeply ironic since he came out of the Marxist-Leninist milieu with its emphasis on the impersonal forces of history.  Mikhail Gorbachev, 1987 … Continue reading Mikhail Gorbachev, 1931-2022

Washington DC Weather and Diplomatic Protocol, 1959

Situated as it is in the mid-Atlantic region, the weather in Washington, DC is extremely variable.  The region experiences four distinct seasons a year, but within each season there can be wild swings in the weather.  This is particularly true in winter and summer.  During the winter, the city can experience days or weeks that … Continue reading Washington DC Weather and Diplomatic Protocol, 1959

old US embassy- small house with large tower in background, snow covered

The Question of Integrating U.S. Forces in Greenland, 1948

An earlier post discussed a late 1949/early 1950 exchange of correspondence between the Department of Defense and the Department of State about potential international implications of the integration of the U.S. armed forces in the late 1940s.  Defense officials wanted to know if there were “political objections to the stationing of individual Negroes or non-segregated … Continue reading The Question of Integrating U.S. Forces in Greenland, 1948

Automobile Diplomacy, 1961

Many factors enter into the world of diplomacy and international relations.  Appearances count.  One need only note the imposing edifices erected by some countries to house their embassies overseas.  Something as mundane as the cars in which diplomats ride at their posts can also affect how people in other countries see them.  In a July … Continue reading Automobile Diplomacy, 1961

portrait of Eagleburger in gray suit and red tie

Lawrence S. Eagleburger, Comedian

Lawrence S. Eagleburger was a career Foreign Service Officer who rose in the ranks to become Secretary of State, albeit for only a couple of months.  In his career, he held the following senior positions in the Department of State: Deputy Under Secretary of State for Management (1975–1977)Ambassador to Yugoslavia (1977–1981)Assistant Secretary of State for … Continue reading Lawrence S. Eagleburger, Comedian

soldier in uniform w/sunglasses looks down on camera smiling, ticker tape and skyscrapers stretch above him

Don’t Rain on My Parade

New York City has seen many ticker-tape parades.  Presidents.  Prime Ministers.  Kings.  Queens.  Astronauts.  Sports figures and teams.  Politicians.  Even one musician.  All have ridden through the high rise canyon of the Big Apple as the ticker-tape and shredded paper floated down and people cheered. U.S. Army Private First Class White waves an American flag … Continue reading Don’t Rain on My Parade

“An Act of Displeasure:” Reaction to the Possibility of a Woman Ambassador, 1951

In April 1950, the United States and Ireland elevated the diplomatic presence in their respective national capitals from a legation (headed by an Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary) to an embassy (headed by an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary).  The last American minister and first American ambassador to Ireland was George A. Garrett, whose tenure covered … Continue reading “An Act of Displeasure:” Reaction to the Possibility of a Woman Ambassador, 1951

The Godfather Shoots Abroad

This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the motion picture The Godfather.  Even before that movie saw its release, the studio began work on the sequel – The Godfather Part II.  Photography began in October 1973, and the picture came out in December 1974. Some of the action in Part II takes place in … Continue reading The Godfather Shoots Abroad

Chernobyl Before It Was CHERNOBYL!

[NOTE: This post was drafted before the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine.] Chernobyl.  Today, the name of the city in present-day war-torn Ukraine conjures visions of a nuclear disaster of previously-unseen proportions.  On April 26, 1986, technicians at the nuclear power plant near Chernobyl lost control of one of the four reactors on the site … Continue reading Chernobyl Before It Was CHERNOBYL!

poster w/Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean shown standing in 3 columns with GIANT written below imposed over a sunset

Cutting “Giant” Down to Size

The 1956 motion picture Giant was exactly that.  Three hours and 17 minutes long.  Directed by George Stevens.  Filled with stars: Elizabeth Taylor. Rock Hudson. James Dean (in his last film). Sal Mineo. Dennis Hopper. Carroll Baker. Jane Withers. Chill Wills. Mercedes McCambridge. Rod Taylor.  Music by Dimitri Tiomkin.  “Giant” received 10 Academy Award nominations, … Continue reading Cutting “Giant” Down to Size