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

Long, Stephen John (2005). Containing liberation: The US Cold War strategy towards Eastern Europe and the Hungarian revolution of 1956. University of Birmingham. M.Phil.


Download (739kB)


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: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
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: J Political Science > JZ International relations
E History America > E151 United States (General)
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year