December 3, 2001, the Center for Historical Studies presented the first
annual Nathan and Jeanette Miller Distinguished Lecture featuring Pulitzer
Prize winning historian David Kennedy. Dr. Kennedy's lecture was entitled,
"A Tale of Three Cities: How the United States Won World War II." Nathan
and Jeanette Miller, both graduates of the University of Maryland, sponsored
Mr. Miller began by thanking the teachers he had at Maryland and introducing
the chair of Maryland History Department, Dr. John Lampe. Dr. Lampe
offered brief remarks regarding the salience of the lecture topic given
the recent terrorist attacks on the United States and the government's
current war on terrorism. CHS director Gary Gerstle then introduced
Dr. Kennedy, noting that he is the perfect candidate for this lecture
series because he "straddles the worlds of scholarship and public affairs."
Dr. Kennedy began by posing the questions, "What if the United States
had lost World War II? What if it had won in a different way? How would
the world be different?" He then stated the premise for his lecture:
World War II was a deeply transformative event in that it transformed
global society and placed the United States at the pinnacle of the world.
Indeed, we still see these results today. He next stated his hypothesis:
this result did not just happen.
Dr. Kennedy next explained that as late as 1940, it seemed extremely
improbable to realistically imagine the United States emerging from
World War II as a world superpower on the verge of an economic boom
that would last decades. 1940 was the