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New Studies in U.S. Foreign Relations Series

Mary Ann Heiss

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Arguing Americanism

Franco Lobbyists, Roosevelt's Foreign Policy, and the Spanish Civil War

The struggle to define U.S. national identity through a political struggle in Spain

In 1938 the United States was embroiled in a vicious debate between supporters of the two sides of the Spanish Civil War, who sought either to lift or to retain the U.S. arms embargo on Spain. The embargo, which favored Gen. Francisco Franco’s Nationalist regime over the ousted Republican government of the Loyalists, received heavy criticism for enabling a supposedly fascist-backed takeover during a time when the Nazi party in Germany was threatening the annexation of countries across Europe. Supporters of General Franco, however, saw the resistance of the Loyalists as being spurred on by the Soviet Union, which sought to establish a communist government abroad.

Since World War II, American historians have traditionally sided with the Loyalist supporters, validating their arguments that the pro-Nationalists were un-American for backing an unpalatable dictator. In Arguing Americanism, author Michael E. Chapman examines the long-overlooked pro-Nationalist argument. Employing new archival sources, Chapman documents a small yet effective network of lobbyists—including engineer turned writer John Eoghan Kelly, publisher Ellery Sedgwick, homemaker Clare Dawes, muralist Hildreth Meière, and philanthropist Anne Morgan—who fought to promote General Franco’s Nationalist Spain and keep the embargo in place.

Arguing Americanism also goes beyond the embargo debate to examine the underlying issues that gripped 1930s America. Chapman posits that the Spanish embargo argument was never really about Spain but rather about the soul of Americanism, the definition of democracy, and who should do the defining. Pro-Loyalists wanted the pure democracy of the ballot box; pro-Nationalists favored the checks and balances of indirect democracy. By pointing to what was happening in Spain, each side tried to defend its version of Americanism against the foreign forces that threatened it. For Franco supporters, it was the spread of international Marxism, toward which they felt Roosevelt and his New Deal were too sympathetic. The pro-Nationalists intensified an argument that became a precursor to a fundamental change in American national identity—a change that would usher in the Cold War era.

Arguing Americanism will appeal to political scientists, cultural historians, and students of U.S. foreign relations.

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Buried in the Sands of the Ogaden

The United States, the Horn of Africa, and the Demise of Détente

When the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) between the Soviet Union and United States faltered during the administration of Jimmy Carter, National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski claimed that “SALT lies buried in the sands of the Ogaden.” How did superpower détente survive Vietnam but stumble in the Horn of Africa? Historian Louise Woodroofe takes Brzezinski’s claim as a starting point to analyze superpower relations during the 1970s, and in so doing she reveals how conflict in East Africa became a critical turning point in the ongoing Cold War battle for supremacy.

Despite representing the era of détente, the 1970s superficially appeared to be one of Soviet successes and American setbacks. As such, the Soviet Union wanted the United States to recognize it as an equal power. However, Washington interpreted détente as a series of agreements and compromises designed to draw Moscow into an international system through which the United States could exercise some control over its rival, particularly in the Third World. These differing interpretations would prove to be the inherent flaw of détente, and nowhere was this better demonstrated than in the conflict in the Horn of Africa in 1974–78.

The Ogaden War between Ethiopia and Somalia involved a web of shifting loyalties, as the United States and Soviet Union alternately supported both sides at different points. Woodroofe explores how the war represented a larger debate over U.S. foreign policy, which led Carter to take a much harder line against the Soviet Union. In a crucial post-Vietnam test of U.S. power, the American foreign policy establishment was unable to move beyond the prism of competition with the Soviet Union.

The conflict and its superpower involvement turned out to be disasters for all involved, and many of the region’s current difficulties trace their historic antecedents to this period. Soviet assistance propped up an Ethiopian regime that terrorized its people, reorganized its agricultural system to disastrous effects in the well-known famines of the 1980s, and kept it one of the poorest countries in the world. Somalia’s defeat in the Ogaden War started its descent into a failed state. Eritrea, which had successfully fought Ethiopia prior to the introduction of Soviet and Cuban assistance, had to endure more than a decade more of repression.

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Caution and Cooperation

The American Civil War in British-American Relations

A provocative reinterpretation of Civil War–era diplomacy

It has long been a mainstay in historical literature that the Civil War had a deleterious effect on Anglo-American relations and that Britain came close to intervention in the conflict. Historians assert that it was only a combination of desperate diplomacy, the Confederacy’s military losses, and Lincoln’s timely issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation that kept the British on the sidelines. Phillip E. Myers seeks to revise this prevailing view by arguing instead that wartime relations between Britain and the United Staets were marked by caution rather than conflict.

Using a wide a rray of primary materials from both sides of the Atlantic, Myers traces the sources of potential Anglo-American wartime turmoil as well as the various reasons both sides had for avoiding war. And while he does note the disagreement between Washington and London, he convincingly demonstrates that transatlantic discord was ultimately minor and neither side serioiusly considered war against the other.

Myers further extends his study into the postwar period to see how that bond strengthened and grew, culminating with the Treaty of Washington in 1871. The Civil War was not, as many have believed for so long, an unpleasant interruption in British-American affairs; instead, it was an event that helped bring the two countries closer together to seal the friendship.

Soundly researched an cogently argued, Caution and Cooperation will surely prompt discussion among Civil War historians, foreign relations scholars, and readers of history.

“Phillip E. Myers’s Caution and Cooperation places Anglo-American relations during the Civil War within the broader context of the whole nineteenth century, arguing convincingly for the lack of any real chance of British intervention on the side of the Confederacy and dating the end-of-the-century Anglo-American rapprochement back about three decades. Based on extensive research in the United States and Great Britain, this major reinterpretation of the transatlantic special relationship is ‘international history’ in its truest sense.”<br />

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Greek-American Relations from Monroe to Truman

Most studies of U.S. relations with Greece focus on the Cold War period, beginning with the enunciation of the Truman Doctrine in 1947. There is little substance in the extant literature about American policy toward or interaction with Greece prior to World War II. This overlooks the important intersections between the two countries and their peoples that predated the Second World War.

U.S. interest in Greece and its people has been long-standing, albeit primarily on an informal or unofficial level. Author Angelo Repousis explores a variety of resonant themes in the field of U.S. foreign relations, including the role of nongovernment individuals and groups in influencing foreign policymaking, the way cultural influences transfer across societies (in this particular case the role of philhellenism), and how public opinion shapes policy—or not. 

Repousis chronicles American public attitudes and government policies toward modern Greece from its war for independence (1821–1829) to the Truman Doctrine (1947) when Washington intervened to keep Greece from coming under communist domination. Until then, although the U.S. government was not actively in support of Greek efforts, American philhellenes had supported the attempt to achieve and protect Greek independence. They saw modern Greece as the embodiment of the virtues of its classical counterpart (human dignity, freedom of thought, knowledge, love of beauty and the arts, republicanism, etc.) and worked diligently, albeit not always successfully, to push U.S. policymakers toward greater official interest in and concern for Greece.

Pre–Cold War American intervention in Greek affairs was motivated in part by a perceived association among American and Greek political cultures. Indebted to ancient Greece for their democratic institutions, philhellenes believed they had an obligation to impart the blessings of free and liberal institutions to Greece, a land where those ideals had first been conceived.

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Informal Ambassadors

American Women, Transatlantic Marriages, and Anglo-American Relations, 1865-1945

From 1865 to 1945, a number of prominent marriages united American heiresses and members of the British aristocracy. In Informal Ambassadors, author Dana Cooper examines the lives and marriages of the American-born, British-wed Lady Jennie Jerome Churchill, Mary Endicott Chamberlain, Vicereine Mary Leiter Curzon, Duchess Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan, and Lady Nancy Astor. This cohort of women surprised their families—both British and American—by exhibiting an extraordinary degree of agency in a period that placed women solidly outside the boundaries of politics and diplomacy.

Without the formal title of diplomat or membership in Parliament, these women nonetheless exerted significant influence in the male-dominated arena of foreign affairs and international politics. As the wives of leading members of the British aristocracy, they had uncompromised and unlimited access to the eyes and ears of individuals at the highest level in Great Britain—the very decision makers who formulated and implemented foreign policy with their home country. Collectively and individually, these informal ambassadors worked to improve relations at the turn of the twentieth century, and by no coincidence, the United States and Great Britain began to view one another less as adversaries and more as allies.

Combining diplomatic history with gender and women’s history, Informal Ambassadors demonstrates not only that could women act as transnational envoys at a time when they could not apply for State Department employment but that they influenced Anglo-American relations to a degree never before considered by historians.

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Leading Them to The Promised Land

Woodrow Wilson Covenant Theology, and the Mexican Revolution, 1913-1915

How Wilson’s religious heritage shaped his response to the Mexican Revolution

“In Wilson’s view, America had a part to play as a divine instrument. To deny the United States an active role in the world was an attempt to deny God’s will.” —from the Introduction

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution mandates that government and religious institutions remain separate and independent of each other. Yet, the influence of religion on American leaders and their political decisions cannot be refuted. Leading Them to the Promised Land is the first book to look at how Presbyterian Covenant Theology affected U.S. president Woodrow Wilson’s foreign policy during the Mexican Revolution.

The son of a prominent southern minister, Wilson was a devout Presbyterian. Throughout his life he displayed a strong conviction that covenants, or formal promises made binding by an oath to God, should be the basis for human relationships, including those between government and public organizations. This belief is demonstrated in Wilson’s attempt to bring peaceful order to the world with the 1919 Covenant of the League of Nations.

Through careful investigation of Wilson’s writings and correspondence, along with other contemporary sources, author Mark Benbow shows how Wilson’s religious heritage shaped his worldview, including his assumption that nations should come together in a covenant to form a unitary whole like the United States. As a result, Wilson attempted to nurture a democratic state in revolutionary Mexico when rivals Venustiano Carranza and Pancho Villa threatened U.S. interests. His efforts demonstrate the difficulty a leader has in reconciling his personal religious beliefs with his nation’s needs.

Leading Them to the Promised Land adds to the growing body of scholarship in international history that examines the connections between religion and diplomacy. It will appeal to readers interested in the history of U.S. foreign relations and the influence of religion on international politics.

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Modernity and National Identity in the United States and East Asia

Chin considers how the United States’, China’s, and Japan’s understandings of modernity shaped, and were shaped by, notions of their place in the world. Drawing on multinational archival and published primary sources, Chin highlights Americans’ ambivalence about their nation’s role in the world, China’s struggle to adapt its worldview to the realities of modern international relations, and the increasingly uneasy relationship between the United States and Japan.

Filling a major gap in the literature, Modernity and National Identity in the United States and East Asia, 1895–1919 is a comprehensive, thought-provoking intellectual history of American, Chinese, and Japanese thinking on modernity, national identity, and internationalism during the early twentieth century. Those with an interest in U.S. foreign relations, women’s and gender history, and U.S.-Asian relations will find this an innovative and fascinating title.

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NATO and the Warsaw Pact

Intrabloc Conflicts

Essays on Cold War tensions within NATO and the Warsaw Pact

There is no shortage of literature addressing the workings, influence, and importance of NATO and the Warsaw Pact individually or how the two blocs faced off during the decades of the Cold War. However, little has been written about the various intrabloc tensions that plagued both alliances during the Cold War or about how those tensions affected the alliances' operation. The essays in NATO and the Warsaw Pact seek to address that glaring gap in the historiography by utilizing a wide range of case studies to explore these often-significant tensions, dispelling in the process all thoughts that the alliances always operated smoothly and without internal dissent.

The volume is divided into two parts, one on each alliance. An introductory essay by S. Victor Papacosma spells out the themes addressed in the individual essays and the volume’s coherent historiographical contribution. They include, but are not limited to, military and political matters, the consequences of World War II for the non-Western world, the role of individuals in shaping historical events, and the unintended consequences of policy choices and developments.

The international group of contributors brings to bear considerable policymaking and academic experience. In approaching the Cold War–era alliances from a new angle and in drawing on recently declassified documentation, this volume adds to the literature in recent international history and will be of interest to scholars in such fields as U.S. foreign relations, European diplomatic history, and security and defense studies, among others.

Visit the Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security <a href="http://www.php.isn.ethz.ch/">site for more information and news related to NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

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NATO before the Korean War

April 1949-June 1950

Conventional wisdom has the Korean War putting the “O” in NATO. Prior to that time, from the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on April 4, 1949, to the North Korean invasion of South Korea on June 25, 1950, the Treaty allies were just going through the motions of establishing an organization. Historian Lawrence Kaplan argues that this is a mistaken view, and he fills significant blanks in the record of 1949 and 1950, which NATO officials and analysts alike have largely ignored.

When the Treaty was signed, the United States hailed the end of its isolationist tradition, as it recognized the necessity of devising new means to cope with the menace of Soviet-led Communism. It was interested in creating a new order in the Old World that would open the way to a united Europe. Toward this end, the allies crafted a transatlantic bargain. In its simplest form, the bargain involved a U.S. commitment to rebuild, economically and militarily, a Western Europe devastated by World War II. In exchange for America’s abandonment of its customary abstention from Europe, the Western allies would take steps to end Europe’s traditional divisions and integrate its resources on every level. The sheer magnitude of the mutual obligations received widespread attention on both sides of the Atlantic as well as within the Communist bloc. The Korean War’s impact on the development of the organization marginalized the prewar history of NATO.

Kaplan asserts that the Korean War was not needed to convert the alliance into an organization, as it was already in place on June 25, 1950. The progress of NATO’s development was often improvised and untidy, and “the first crude tools of the organization,” as Dean Acheson noted, had been cast by the end of the London meeting of the North Atlantic Council in May 1950. The seeds of major changes took the form of the supreme allied commanders, and a civilian coordinating body could be found in negotiations conducted during the winter and spring of 1950. The origins of the “O” in NATO are found in the text of the North Atlantic Treaty, in Article 9, under whose auspices new responsibilities were justified.

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Safe for Decolinization

The Eisenhower Administration, Britain, and Singapore

How America left its indelible footprint on the culture and politics of Singapore

In the first decade after World War II, Singapore underwent radical political and socioeconomic changes with the progressive retreat of Great Britain from its Southeast Asian colonial empire. The United States, under the Eisenhower administration, sought to fill the vacuum left by the British retreat and launched into a campaign to shape the emerging Singapore nation-state in accordance with its Cold War policies. Based on a wide array of Chinese- and English-language archival sources from Great Britain, the Netherlands, Singapore, and the United States, Safe for Decolonization examines in depth the initiatives—both covert and public—undertaken by the United States in late-colonial Singapore.

Apart from simply analyzing the effect of American activities on the politics of the island, author S. R. Joey Long also examines their impact on the relationship between Great Britain and the United States, and how the Anglo-American nuclear policy toward China and the establishment of a regional security institution (the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization) affected the security and decolonization of a strategic British base.

Long sketches a highly detailed and nuanced account of the relations between the United States, Great Britain, and Singapore. He not only describes the often clumsy attempts by covert American operatives to sway top political leaders, infiltrate governments, influence labor unions, and shape elections, but he also shows how Eisenhower’s public initiatives proved to have far-reaching positive results and demonstrates that the Eisenhower administration’s policies toward Singapore, while not always well advised, nonetheless helped to lay the foundation for friendly Singapore–U.S. relations after 1960.

As the first multi-archival work on the U.S. intervention in Singapore, Safe for Decolonization makes an important contribution to the literature on Southeast Asia–U.S. relations. It will be of interest to specialists in decolonization, diplomatic history, modern Southeast Asian history, and the history of the early Cold War.

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