Wilson D. Miscamble
When George C. Marshall, the organizer of victory as Army Chief of Staff during World War II, became Secretary of State in January of 1947, he faced not only a staggering array of serious foreign policy questions but also a State Department rendered ineffective by neglect, maladministration, and low morale. Soon after his arrival Marshall asked George F. Kennan to head a new component in the department's structure--the Policy Planning Staff. In this major work Wilson Miscamble scrutinizes Kennan's subsequent influence over foreign policymaking during the crucial years from 1947 to 1950. Despite an already large literature on the origins of the Cold War, this exhaustively researched study casts new light on American foreign policy during the Truman administration: it clearly shows how policy was actually made. Neither a survey of Kennan's ideas nor a simple narrative of his activities devoid of context, it covers the wider spectrum of discussion and decision within the State Department and beyond. Miscamble argues that American foreign policy from 1947 to 1950 was not simply a working out of a clearly delineated strategy of containment.
Far from dictating policies, the famous containment doctrine was formed by them in a piecemeal and pragmatic manner.