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The OAH Distinguished Lectureship Program


New in 2017 2018

Ross A. Kennedy

Ross A. KennedyRoss A. Kennedy is a professor of history at Illinois State University and the author of The Will to Believe: Woodrow Wilson, World War I, and America’s Strategy for Peace and Security (2009), which won the Scott Bills Prize in Peace History. He also edited A Companion to Woodrow Wilson (2013) and has written extensively on American domestic politics and foreign policy during World War I. Kennedy’s research focuses particularly on how different groups of Americans, including peace activists, liberal internationalists, and conservatives, conceptualized national security from 1914 to 1920. He argues that concerns about domestic militarization fueled much of the debate about security issues during this period.

Kennedy has had extensive experience in speaking about historical topics and contemporary issues to academic and public audiences. His engagements have included political commentary for television news shows, radio interviews, keynote addresses at academic conferences, and lectures for history museum exhibits. Most recently, he was one of the featured speakers for an hour-long bbc World News broadcast devoted to the United States and World War I.

Kennedy’s current project is a book entitled "The United States and the Origins of World War II" which will analyze how the policies of the United States contributed to the structure of Great Power politics from 1918 to 1939, affecting the choices made by other leading actors in the international system regarding the armistice ending World War I, the peace terms with Germany, the League of Nations, reparations and security in Europe in the 1920s, the interwar international economy, and the collapse of the international system in the 1930s.

Lectures