Cold War Diplomacy Essay Research Paper This

Cold War Diplomacy Essay, Research Paper

This 187 page book by Norman Graebner covers the key American policy makers of the Eisenhower and Kennedy years. The book covers: setting the stage of American policy towards Europe from Roosevelt to Truman; the European Defense Community, Political Community and the Coal and Steel Community Loan; the sensitive Euratom agreement; European disagreements and the OECD; the Kennedy team and its inheritance; the Multi-Lateral Force failure; De Gaulle’s conflicting world view; and the Atlantic partnership, Nassau meeting and Gaullist veto. It concludes with an Epilogue on the Johnson administration.

The book is mostly based on personal interviews, access to documents and papers and of course Dr. Winand s own view that European unity was a potential element of stability and prosperity for the West and as a factor of strength for the Atlantic Alliance . She further believes that Atlantic Alliance leaders of postwar United States administrations not only supported but helped to shape European institutions. Though she was able to show a familiar or rather shared values between the American and Western leaders the question which remained in my mind was did the United States have a decisive impact on shaping post war Europe or didn t the United States essentially force Europe into the position it was in.

The jargon of terms used in this book were at times a bit confusing but what I basically gathered was that through American actions throughout the years towards European leaders America has shaped the stability of European institutions/states. I used the book to focus on how the similar the Kennedy and Eisenhower administrations were in defining American foreign policy during the Cold War. Both Presidents were driven by the policy of containment to take whatever action they saw necessary in order to prevent the spread of communism.specifically Eisenhower’s and Kennedy’s remained similiar despite the Jeremy fact

that the war was a bipartisan undertaking. The overall policy by which the

Cold War was defined was strikingly similar between both presidents. The

ways in which the Cold War was carried on between the United States and

Communism remained the same between both presidents. The handling of a

major war development was continued throughout the span of Eisenhower’s and

Kennedy’s terms. However, their aims in how to structure an offense were

not as similiar as their other policies.

The policy of containment was the overall blueprint for which the

Cold War was constructed. The policy of containment is what drove the

presidents to take whatever action they felt necessary to protect this

policy in order to stop the spread of communism. It was by this measure

that presidential actions in the Cold War were carried out. The reasons by

which we see that Eisenhower’s and Kennedy’s foreign policy were similiar

is the fact that the both felt the same toward the policy of containment,

thus the pieces fell in place once this plan was determined by both

presidents. The policy of containment was the policy of the time, it said

that our main goal was to keep communism from spreading. It would be later

seen that the focus of our efforts would be on the third world nations

which were weak and thus possible to have their governments overthrown.

Although both presidents agreed on the topic of containment, Kennedy was a

little more forceful in his approach. This was seen through his

inauguration speech in which he made clear his central opposition to

communism. He felt that the nation was not doing enough to combat it.

Nevertheless, both he and Eisenhower followed a distinct policy of

containment which would lead to further similarities in their foreign


The means in which containment was achieved, much like the policy

itself, varied little between the two presidents. Each used third world

nations to combat communism. More specifically, the United States during

this time, used its relatively new CIA to topple the governments of

communist regimes. We see this in Eisenhower’s administration during the

situation in Guatemala. In 1954, the administration ordered the CIA to

topple the government of Jacobo Guzman in Guatemala who the Eisenhower

administration argued was communist. The same began to ocurr in Cuba when

Bastista was removed and replaced by Castro. At first, the US welcomed him,

but as it seemed that he began to believe in communism, Eisenhower’s

administration ordered the CIA to begin training Cuban expatriates for an

invasion of Cuba in order to displace his government. Kennedy displayed

similiar tactics through his actions in office as well. He continued the

practice of Eisenhower’s invasion of Cuba to unseat Castro by authorizing

the Bay of Pigs operation. This failed miserably yet it still represented

the president’s methods of waging the Cold War and his adherance to

Eisenhower’s previous policies. Out of this operation grew evidence of

Kennedy’s green berets, a special task force used to infiltrate

governments of third world nations to protect them from communist

government influence. Another display of Kennedy’s plan of fighting the

Cold War was his dealings with the Cuban Missile Crisis. In response to

information that missiles were there he set up blockades around Cuba, a

lesser nation, rather than fully attacking the Soviet Union for this action.

Kennedy’s time in office was characterized by the Cold War being fought

through third world nations by use of the CIA, quite similiar to

Eisenhower’s practice of toppling communist regimes in third world nations

also through the use of the CIA.

The way in which a major threat was handled is also similar between

both presidents. Eisenhower and Kennedy both took a similiar approach to

the situation in Vietnam. Their approaches were both hesitant to have

direct involvement. Eisenhower was first hesitant to even get involved in

the first place by withdrawing support. In fact, he refused direct aid to

France, other than the economic aid we were already giving, in 1953 when

challanged by nationalist Ho Chi Minh. By refusing American aid, France’s

position deterioriated and the French were forced to surrender. After

Vietnam was split abd Ngo Dinh Diem took over the South, trouble arose

again. Kennedy took a similar course of action as Eisenhower previously did

at the begining of the Vietnam problem. Eventually, Kennedy withdrew aid

asa soon as trouble arose in Vietnam. The Buddhist crisis made the Kennedy

administartion look bad and made them reconsider their situation. In order

to preserve their image, and to stay out of war, the Kennedy administration

topplied the Diem. Thus, they took a removed approach to the situation

there. Thus, by withdrawing, or not extending support in the first place,

both presidents stayed far away from Vietnam. Furthermore, during this time,

both presidents stepped up the nuclear arms race in order to compete with

China as a response to the growing communist conflict. Lastly, neither of

these presidents escalated the war to the point of intervention as their

successor, Lyndon Johnson did. Thus, by contrasting their actions with

those of Johnson’s it is clear to see that they remained similar to each

other’s policies.

Despite the fact that the two presidents were nearly equal in their

foreign policy there were some fundamental differences in the way both

operated. A major difference was the disagreement in how preparations

should be made in response to a communist threat and the alleged missle

gap that both presidents felt existed. Eisenhower, and his secretary of

state, Dulles, believed in a policy of massive retaliation. This policy

outlined the use of nuclear weapons in fighting against any communist

complication in foreign affairs. Thus, Eisenhower felt that through the use

of strict nuclear weapons, the communist threat could be deterred. On the

other hand, Kennedy outlined a policy of flexible response. Different

from Eisenhower’s, this policy criticized Eisenhower for not developing

other tools with which to respond to problems that nuclear weapons could

not be used to solve. A nuclear attack on third world nation was not an

acceptable means of combat. To this extent, Kennedy formed his Special

Forces, or the green berets in order to meet the needs of combat against

a weak opponent. Common to both presidents however, was the increase in

nuclear weapon production to eliminate the missile gap. Thus, although both

presidents increased the overall production of nuclear weapons, it is seen

that through these two very different policies of attack the two presidents

felt differently toward the way containment should be maintained.

Through the handling of the Cold War crisis it can be seen that

party lines are not necessarily a definitive boundary which requires that

presidents of different parties have diffent forms of foriegn policy. The

Cold War era illustrates how Eisenhower and Kennedy followed a similiar

program which both felt would serve the common good of the nation and it

worked. The presidents successfully helped achieve the widely-acclaimed

goal of containment and contributed to the world we live in today.


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