Naval Historical Center home pageImage of an anchorColloquium on Contemporary History Project
Flag banner


Lawrence S. Kaplan is one of the foremost authorities on the history of the NATO alliance. He earned the B.A. degree at Colby College in 1947 and took the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in History at Yale in 1948 and 1951, respectively. Dr. Kaplan launched his professional career as an historian with the Department of Defense from 1951 to 1954. He then began a long association with Kent State University, ultimately serving as a professor of history, chairman of the history department, and dean of the college of arts and sciences. He has held many fellowships, scholarships, and other academic honors. Dr. Kaplan has authored, co-authored, or edited 17 books, numerous book chapters, and articles. From 1979 to 1992, he was the Director of the Lyman L. Lemnitzer Center for NATO and European Studies at Kent State University. He is currently preparing a study of Robert S. McNamara.

Peter M. Swartz has been a scholar in uniform. In 1965, he received a B.A. degree in international relations and a commission in the U.S. Navy from Brown University. During the next 10 years, he earned an M.A. in international relations from Johns Hopkins' School of Strategic and International Studies, taught in the Navy's schools system, and served a tour in Vietnam. Subsequent tours were served as a strategist and analyst in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, with the U.S. Mission to NATO, and as a Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Captain Swartz retired from the Navy in 1992 to pursue a doctorate in history at Columbia University. His dissertation topic is the U.S. Navy's involvement in the early days of the NATO alliance.

Richard A. Best Jr. earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in history from Rice University in 1965 and 1967 and completed a doctorate in Modern European studies at Georgetown in 1983. He has taught courses on European civilization and U.S. defense policy at Rice, Georgetown, and Catholic universities. Dr. Best also served as an officer in the U.S. Navy, with tours in intelligence at home and abroad. Following his military commitment, he worked as a civilian analyst at the National Security Agency and as a legislative assistant in the House of Representatives. Dr. Best has authored numerous articles on naval strategy relating to modern Europe and in 1986 published a book with Greenwood Press entitled Co-Operation with Like-Minded Peoples: British Influences on American Defense Policy, 1945-1949.

22 September 2003