Surprise Attack Reconsidered

Speakers:
Ernest R. May Charles Warren Professor of History, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Co-Author, Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision-Makers
Wm. Roger Louis Director, National History Center; Past President, American Historical Association
Description

In this first meeting of a series organized in collaboration with the National History Center, historian Ernie May will discuss some of history’s most infamous surprise attacks, including the fall of France in World War II, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the September 11 terrorist attacks. From a historical perspective, he will reflect on their impact on U.S. foreign policy and the lessons we have learned from them.

Audio
More on this topic

The Lonely Crusade of an IMF Historian to Whitewash the Spy Career of the Fund's Founder

Benn Steil takes a critical look at the longstanding efforts of former IMF historian James Boughton to disparage the evidence that the Fund's founding architect, FDR Treasury official Harry Dexter White, engaged in espionage on behalf of the Soviet Union.

Machiavelli: Still Shocking after Five Centuries

Marking the 500th anniversary of the The Prince (1513), Stewart Patrick explains why Machiavelli's primer on statecraft still has the capacity to shock half a millennium after it was written.

Maximalist

When the United States has succeeded in the world, it has done so by changing course—usually amid deep controversy and uncertainty. Maximalist finds lessons in the past that anticipate and clarify our chaotic present, revealing the history of U.S. foreign policy in an unexpected new light.

Terms of Use: I understand that I may access this audio and/or video file solely for my personal use. Any other use of the file and its content, including display, distribution, reproduction, or alteration in any form for any purpose, whether commercial, non commercial, educational, or promotional, is expressly prohibited without the written permission of the copyright owner, the Council on Foreign Relations. For more information, write publications@cfr.org.