The incoherent neighbour: George C. Marshall and US strategy in the Western Hemisphere, 1947-1948

Spokes, Mark (2010). The incoherent neighbour: George C. Marshall and US strategy in the Western Hemisphere, 1947-1948. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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The Incoherent Neighbour challenges standard narratives of the early Cold War that identify a neglect of the Western Hemisphere in the initial formulations of containment strategy. Such traditional accounts overlook the integral role of George C. Marshall, during his tenure as Secretary of State, in translating the abstract concepts of containment into the specific context of Latin America. Marshall did not introduce a Cold War framework to the Western Hemisphere however; rather he identified the Western Hemisphere as a particular theatre for an asymmetric response in the psychological struggle with the Soviet Union. Marshall sought to project a positive image of the US and demonstrate a symbolic example of solidarity in its sphere of influence through a renewed commitment to the Good Neighbour Policy. A number of significant tensions left unreconciled ensured that incoherence remained the defining feature of this strategic approach however. Marshall failed to understand that the lessons of the Good Neighbour Policy no longer remained applicable to a region transformed by a rising tide of expectations for political and economic development. The legacies of Marshall as the first global strategist and saviour of Europe are undermined by his unsuccessful strategy in the Western Hemisphere between 1947 and 1948.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Historical Studies
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: E History America > E11 America (General)


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