Bullitt, William Christian

   William C. Bullitt began work as a writer for the Philadelphia Public Ledger from 1915 to 1917 but joined the State Department in 1917. In 1919, he was sent to Moscow to report on the Bolshevik government, and he recommended recognition of the Soviet regime. When this was rejected, he became disaffected and spoke against acceptance of the Versailles Treaty.
   Bullitt was recalled from relative obscurity by Franklin D. Roosevelt, who sent him on two private fact-finding tours of Europe in 1932. Bullitt mistakenly reported that Adolf Hitler had little political future. He was appointed ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1933 to 1936. While in Moscow, he abandoned his previous procommunist outlook and became increasingly critical of Joseph Stalin. He continued to express these views during World War II, and many of his views were summed up in his book The Great Globe Itself (1946). Some of these ideas clearly influenced George F. Kennan and helped shape the policy of containment that emerged during the Cold War.
   From 1936 to 1941, Bullitt was ambassador to France. He became a special assistant to the secretary of the navy in 1942, but he vacated the position following a dispute with Sumner Welles to serve as an officer in the Free French Army from 1944 to 1945. He continued to write articles on foreign issues for Life magazine and other publications after World War II had ended.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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