Cold War Impact on US Foreign Policy
The mentality of the Cold War greatly affected the decisions made by the Presidents that held the office from 1950 to 1974. The main thought that prevailed from the beginning of the Cold War was containment. It was the main goal of the United States to contain the spread of Communism whenever possible. “Brinkmanship” was the first major policy that was employed by the United States in the effort to stop the spread of Communism throughout the world. President Eisenhower’s Secretary of State John Foster Dulles coined the term “Brinkmanship”, which simply stated means using the military to push things to the brink of war without actually going to war. This was often used to intimidate the Soviet Union into backing down during the early part of the Cold War era. President Kennedy would take a slightly more flexible stance in terms of retaliation should an attack occur. However, it wouldn’t be until President Nixon took office that the metaphorical waters between the US and the Soviet Union would begin to calm.
In 1957 Secretary of State John Foster Dulles addressed the Associated Press in a speech known as Dynamic Peace. In this speech Secretary Dulles seems to be trying to convince the American public why they must always be prepared to go to war even though it was not what America desired. He also explained how the Soviet Union would not want the free nations of the world to work together to arm themselves and be willing to protect each other from attack. “The Soviet rulers understandably prefer that the free nations should be weak and divided, as when the men in the Kremlin stole, one by one, the independence of a dozen nations. So, at each enlargement of the area of collective defense, the Soviet rulers pour out abuse against so-called "militaristic groupings." And as the free nations move to strengthen their common defense, the Soviet rulers emit threats. But we can, I think, be confident that such Soviet assaults will not disintegrate the free world. Collective measures are here to stay. . . .” Dulles goes on to talk about how the greatest deterrent of war is the retaliatory ability of other nations. Secretary Dulles then goes on to explain that the United States sought the liberation of the nations under the Soviet Union not to surround Russia with hostile nations but because peace cannot be achieved until all captive nations are set free.
President John F. Kennedy would set the tone of his administration’s stance on the Cold War and the Soviet Union during his inaugural address. He asked that the nations of the world to come together to fight “the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself”. His address gave realistic expectations by saying that his goals might not even be achieved during his generation’s lifetime, but even that possible truth should not discourage the United States or the rest of the world from starting on the road towards peace and freedom for the whole world. In June 1961 President Kennedy met with the Premier of the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev. During this meeting many subjects were discussed, but the most important was Berlin. Even though he allowed himself to be bullied, President Kennedy felt he made it clear to Khrushchev that the United States was not willing to compromise on a withdrawal from Berlin. Only a few short months later East German authorities would begin to restrict the movements of people from East Berlin into West Berlin. These actions would prompt the United States to send a note to the Soviet Union protesting these actions and asking that the Soviet Union put a stop to it before things got too far out of hand. The Soviet Union’s reply stated that it supported the actions of the East German Government because they were trying to protect themselves from western spies who were trying to undermine the Government. It goes on to talk about how the United States is well aware of these activities...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document