The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made: Acheson, Bohlen,... Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Walter Isaacson
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Which of the "Wise Men," according to Isaacson, attended The Hill School in Philadelphia?

2. Under which president did Dean Acheson serve in the Attorney General's office?

3. Which of the "Wise Men" does Isaacson report to be the son of a wealthy railway tycoon?

4. With what country did Bohlen become fascinated during late-night discussions at Harvard?

5. Who was the Supreme Court Justice for whom Dean Acheson clerked?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why did Russian soldiers dismantle German factories and send the assets back to their homeland at the end of WWII according to Isaacson?

2. How did Averell Harriman and Robert Lovett come to work together after WWI, according to Isaacson?

3. What does Isaacson claim to be Averell Harriman's qualification for Skull and Bones?

4. Who does Isaacson identify as the two men that Secretary of War Henry Stimson called the "Heavenly Twins"?

5. As the Allied powers began to close in on Germany, what does Isaacson expose to be the main concern of the British and American governments for the post-war era?

6. What does Isaacson claim motivated George Kennan to apply for a job with the foreign service?

7. What does Isaacson report to be Averell Harriman's first achievement after he was named as transportation adviser to the National Defense Advisory Commission by President Franklin Roosevelt?

8. How does Isaacson claim that Robert Lovett's father started in his work for E.H. Harriman?

9. What military action did Joseph Stalin demand from his British and American allies once the United States entered WWII, according to Isaacson?

10. What experience in John McCloy's background does Isaacson claim gave McCloy the exposure to Henry Stimson that eventually led to McCloy's appointment to the Department of War as a special consultant on German espionage?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Much of what the "Wise Men" helped to develop during the Cold War (NATO, the CIA, foreign aid spending, the military industrial complex) still exists today despite the fact that the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989 and China has abandoned communism as an economic and governing model. Consider how these institutions and strategies are being used in the "War on Terror," and the reasons current leaders say this is a necessary global war and compare them to claims of the "Wise Men" for confronting the global threat of communism. Use evidence in the book and from outside sources in this comparison give your opinion on one of three options:

a. The efforts of the "Wise Men" to develop the tools to protect America's interests around the world were for the sake of the people of the U.S. and they are still being used for the same today.

b. The intentions of the "Wise Men" were to protect the U.S. but they have recently been used to expand the power of people in the government over the lives of American citizens.

c. The "Wise Men" used their access to the foreign policy bureaucracy to draw power to themselves and the foreign policy establishment and they continue to be so used today.

Essay Topic 2

Throughout WWII Joseph Stalin was depicted in The Wise Men as an unreliable ally and he was considered a threat to American interests after the war. Yet when the destructiveness of the atom bomb was exposed, members of the Truman Administration considered making the Soviet Union part of a system of regulating the use of the weapon and even considered sharing the technology with the Soviets. What were the reasons for inviting the Soviets to share strategic information regarding atomic weapons with the U.S.? Are these reasons contradictory to the distrust that the six "Wise Men" had for Stalin and the Soviets? How so or how not? Did the eventual development of nuclear weapons in the Soviet Union act to preserve peace or lead to justifications for more military build-up? Explain your answers with information from the book.

Essay Topic 3

George Kennan and Chip Bohlen used their very different personalities and skills to climb the ranks of the foreign service to eventually enter the inner circles of the Roosevelt Administration. Compare and contrast the diverse personalities and skills of Kennan and Bohlen and detail how they complemented each other to become major influences on policies concerning the Soviet Union.

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