George Kennan (left, 1961) left the State Department in 1949 to devote himself primarily to writing, while his old friend and rival Paul Nitze (right, 1982) stayed in the scrum for decades, eventually serving as Ronald Reagan's lead arms negotiator. (© Bettman/Corbis; D. Gordon/NYT File Photo)

Worthy opponents

The lifelong friendship between George Kennan and Paul Nitze began with an accidental meeting on a train. It ended up defining the contours of US Cold War policy.

By Nicholas Thompson
April 3, 2005

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IN THE SUMMER of 1943, George Kennan and Paul Nitze met on a train going from New York to Washington. Neither knew who the other was, nor was there any reason they should have. Kennan was a 39-year-old diplomat, just returned from Portugal. A Wall Street man four years Kennan's junior, Nitze was a second-level official at the Board of ... (Full article: 1822 words)

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