9/19: Matthew Dallek on “Defenseless Under Night: The Roosevelt Years and the Origins of Homeland Security”

Homeland security is often seen as a post-Sept. 11 development. Yet, in Defenseless Under the Night, Matthew Dallek traces its birth to an epic battle during World War II: Eleanor Roosevelt’s vision of a wartime New Deal was pitted against New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia’s campaign to militarize millions of civilians to keep Americans safe from air raids, chemical and biological attacks, spies, and even land invasion. Defenseless argues that Americans felt truly vulnerable for the first time not after 9/11 but during the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Matthew Dallek (Ph.D., U.S. History, Columbia) is associate professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. His articles and reviews have appeared in the Washington Post, Politico, the Journal of Policy History, and numerous other scholarly and popular publications. He is also author of The Right Moment: Ronald Reagan’s First Victory and the Decisive Turning Point in American Politics and co-author of Inside Campaigns: Elections through the Eyes of Political Professionals (CQ/Sage).

4:00pm – 5:30pm
Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Moynihan Boardroom

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center’s History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.

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