Walter RostowWalt Whitman Rostow, (October 7, 1916 – February 13, 2003) was an American academic who was Special Assistant for National Security Affairs under President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Rostow was born in New York City the son of Jewish immigrants who were active socialists. He obtained a BA from Yale University in 1936, a PhD Yale in 1940 and attended Balliol College, Oxford University (1936 -1938) as a Rhodes Scholar.
During World War II he served in the OSS under William Donovan. Rostow became Assistant Chief of the German-Austrian Economic Division in the United States State Department in Washington D.C immediately after the war. From 1946 to 1947, he returned to Oxford to teach as the Harmsworth Professor of American History. Rostow became the Assistant to the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Europe, in 1947 and was involved in the development of the Marshall Plan. He spent a year in 1949 at Cambridge University as the Pitt Professor of American History. Rostow was Professor of Economic History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1950 to 1961 and a staff member of the Center for International Studies, MIT. from 1951 to 1961. In 1958, he became a speech writer for President Dwight Eisenhower.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Rostow Deputy Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs reporting to McGeorge Bundy. Late in 1961, he was then appointed as counselor of the Department of State and Chairman of the Policy Planning Council, Department of State. Rostow wrote President Johnson's first state of the union speech and was appointed by Johnson in May 1964 United States Member of the Inter-American Committee on the Alliance for Progress (CIAP).
In early 1966, he was named special Assistant for National Security Affairs (the post now known as National Security Advisor) where he was a main figure in developing the government's policy in the Vietnam War, and where he remained until February 1969 when he returned to teaching, at the University of Texas at Austin, as Professor of Economics and History in the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Rostow was the Rex G. Baker, Jr. Professor Emeritus of Political Economy.
Rostow authored numerous books including:
- Essays on the British Economy of the Nineteenth Century (1948),
- The Process of Economic Growth (1952),
- An American Policy in Asia, with R.W. Hatch (1955),
- The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto (1960),
- Theorists of Economic Growth from David Hume to the Present, With a Perspective on the Next Century (1990),
- the third edition of The Stages of Economic Growth; (1990),
- ''The Great Population Spike and After: Reflections on the 21st Century' (1998), and
- Concept and Controversy: Sixty Years of Taking Ideas to Market (2003).