About the History and Public Policy Program

The Latest from the History and Public Policy Program

Bankrupt: Detroit and the Future of Urban America

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May 12, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
Detroit is the largest American municipality to have declared bankruptcy. Leading urban historian Thomas Sugrue examines the roots of the city's fiscal crisis, its implications for urban finance, pensions, and the future of American cities, and examines the opportunities and obstacles that Detroit faces in its efforts to restructure its local government, redevelop its downtown and neighborhoods, and reorganize its troubled economy. more

Covert Legions: U.S. Army Intelligence and the Defense of Europe, 1944-1949

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May 05, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
As the Third Reich collapsed, Soviet forces moved deep into Central Europe, and the United States had to adjust rapidly to the new political landscape. The intelligence services of the U.S. Army assumed a key role in informing Washington national security policy toward Europe during this critical period. This presentation discusses the early Cold War operations of U.S. Army intelligence as it sought to apprehend war criminals, suppress Nazi subversion, contain communism, and monitor the Red Army. more

Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev's Adaptation, Reagan's Engagement, and the End of the Cold War

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April 28, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
James Graham Wilson takes a long view of the end of the Cold War, from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to Operation Desert Storm. Wilson argues that adaptation, improvisation, and engagement by individuals in positions of power ended the specter of a nuclear holocaust. Eschewing the notion of a coherent grand strategy to end the Cold War, Wilson illuminates how leaders made choices and reacted to events they did not foresee. more

America's Great Game: The CIA's Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East

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April 21, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
The CIA has an almost diabolical reputation in the Arab world. Yet, in the early years of its existence, the 1940s and 1950s, the Agency was distinctly pro-Arab, lending its support to the leading Arab nationalist of the day, Gamal Nasser, and conducting an anti-Zionist publicity campaign at home in the U.S. Drawing on a wide range of sources, Hugh Wilford uncovers the world of early CIA “Arabism,” its origins, characteristic forms, and eventual demise. more

‘Take Your Choice!’: Historical Reflections on the Act of Voting

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April 07, 2014 // 4:00pm5:30pm
The secret ballot is now considered the gold standard for fair elections around the globe. However, in the aftermath of the American and French Revolutions, voting in secrecy held little immediate mass appeal in the US or Europe, and the secret ballot was used in combination with a wide variety of voting techniques. The history of the fraught introduction of the secret ballot on both sides of the Atlantic provides an opportunity to explore how conceptions of the business of choice-making have changed since the Age of Revolutions and also to reconsider how we vote today. more

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