Today's date:
Winter 1999

Will the Next Century be American Too?

Paul Kennedy, is Professor of History and Director of International Security Studies at Yale University. He is the author of many works, including The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers and Preparing for the Twenty-First Century. This article will also appear during 1999 in the German weekly, Der Speigel.

Yale - These three words, "The American Century," surely constitute one of the best-known expressions of modern international history. The phrase was first coined by the highly successful American publisher, Henry Luce, as the title for an article he wrote in a February 1941 edition of his own LIFE magazine. Composed months before either Hitler attacked the USSR or Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, therefore, it was an amazingly confident prescription for the era to come. "American experience," exalted Luce in his article, "is the key to the future...America must be the elder brother of nations in the brotherhood of man." Given the Us Congress's desire to avoid was, the still-minuscule size of its Army at that time, and the massive ambitions of other, heavily armed Great Powers, this was a risky vision to advance.

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