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Containing liberation: The US Cold War strategy towards Eastern Europe and the Hungarian revolution of 1956

Long, Stephen John (2005)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This thesis analyses the nature and significance of US strategy towards Eastern Europe between 1945 and the 1956 Hungarian revolution. Tension between the ideological goal of liberating the USSR’s satellite regimes and geopolitical considerations restrained American policy, perpetuating a fluctuation between containment and liberation.
America embarked on a liberation policy under Harry Truman and strategists such as George Kennan, Charles Bohlen and Paul Nitze. Adopting salient strategic reviews like NSC 20/4 and NSC 68, policy oscillated between containment and liberation in response to external developments like Jozip Tito’s defection, the Soviet nuclear bomb, the rise of Mao Ze Dong and the Korean War.
Proponents of political-psychological warfare during Dwight Eisenhower’s administration like John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, Frank Wisner and C. D. Jackson struggled to resolve the tension between ideology and geopolitics ultimately paralysing the US ability to roll back communism. Joseph Stalin’s death, the East German uprising and the Hungarian revolution illustrated Washington’s impotence.
History fallaciously demarcates the death of liberation post-Hungary. Although Washington rejected its existing strategy, the long-term goal was not relinquished. Eastern European policy adapted to geopolitical limitations, through coexistence and liberalisation. Liberation shifted to the Developing World under the slogan ‘nation-building.’

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Lucas, W. Scott
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Historical Studies
Department:Department of American and Canadian Studies
Subjects:JZ International relations
E151 United States (General)
D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:1787
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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