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Some Critical Issues in U.S. Foreign Policy since 1945


Some Critical Issues in U.S. Foreign Policy since 1945 Emily S. Rosenberg Professor of History UC Irvine Four Topics that Highlight Significant Questions for Foreign ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Some Critical Issues in U.S. Foreign Policy since 1945

Some Critical Issues in U.S. Foreign Policy since
  • Emily S. Rosenberg
  • Professor of History
  • UC Irvine

Four Topics that Highlight Significant Questions
for Foreign Policy History
  • A. Dropping of Atomic bomb on Japan (1945)
  • questions about the advent of the atomic age
  • B. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
  • questions about what should count as
    universal and as a right
  • C. National Security Document-68 (1950)
  • questions about new executive branch powers to
    wage the Cold War
  • D. Cold War Expositions of the 1950s
  • questions about soft vs hard power

A. Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs against
  • Teaching Resource
  • Many photos of the bombing can be found through
    Google and youtube.
  • This website contains an exercise that could be
    adapted for classroom use in getting students to
    discuss the ramifications of the use of the bomb

A. Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs against
  • Recommended Reading J. Samuel Walkers, Prompt
    and Utter Destruction Truman and the Use of
    Atomic Bombs against Japan presents a very short
    (110pp), readable, judicious, and reliable
    examination of the controversial historical
    questions surrounding the use of the bomb.
  • Here is his conclusion, reached after surveying
    all the questions under debate
  • The answer to the fundamental question that has
    stirred so much debate among scholars is
    appropriately ambiguous. The question is, Was
    the bomb necessary? The answer seems to be yes
    and no. Yes, it was necessary to end the war as
    quickly as possible. No, it was not necessary to
    prevent an invasion of Japan.
  • A corollary to the first question is, What did
    the bomb accomplish? The answer seems to be that
    it shortened the war and saved the lives of a
    relatively small but far from inconsequential
    number of Americans. It might also have saved
    many Japanese lives, though this was not an
    important consideration for U.S. policymakers.
    Was that sufficient reason to wipe out two
    Japanese cities with weapons that delivered
    unprecedented military power and unpredictable
    diplomatic consequences? There is no definitive
    answer to that question or to a multitude of
    others that follow from it. But it still needs
    to be addressed in an informed way by scholars,
    students, and other concerned citizens. The
    decision to use atomic bombs against Japan was
    such a momentous event . . . that it should
    continue to be studied, evaluated, and debated.

Four Topics that Highlight Significant Questions
for Foreign Policy History
  • A. Dropping of A-bomb (1945)
  • questions about the advent of the atomic age
  • B. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
  • questions about what should count as
    universal and as a right
  • C. National Security Document-68 (1950)
  • questions about new executive branch powers to
    wage the Cold War
  • D. Cold War Expositions of the 1950s
  • questions about soft vs hard power

B. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
  • 1. All human beings are born free and equal in
    dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason
    and conscience and should act towards one another
    in a spirit of brotherhood.
  • 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and
    freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without
    distinction of any kind, such as race, colour,
    sex, language, religion, political or other
    opinion, national or social origin, property,
    birth or other status. Furthermore, no
    distinction shall be made on the basis of the
    political, jurisdictional or international status
    of the country or territory to which a person
    belongs, whether it be independent, trust,
    non-self-governing or under any other limitation
    of sovereignty.
  • 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and
    security of person..
  • 4. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude
    slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited
    in all their forms.
  • 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to
    cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
  • 6. Everyone has the right to recognition
    everywhere as a person before the law.
  • 7. All are equal before the law and are entitled
    without any discrimination to equal protection of
    the law. All are entitled to equal protection
    against any discrimination in violation of this
    Declaration and against any incitement to such
  • 8. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy
    by the competent national tribunals for acts
    violating the fundamental rights granted him by
    the constitution or by law.
  • 9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary
    arrest, detention or exile.
  • 10. Everyone is entitled in full equality to a
    fair and public hearing by an independent and
    impartial tribunal, in the determination of his
    rights and obligations and of any criminal charge
    against him.

B. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948),
  • 11. Everyone charged with a penal offence has
    the right to be presumed innocent until proved
    guilty according to law in a public trial at
    which he has had all the guarantees necessary for
    his defence.
  • 12. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary
    interference with his privacy, family, home or
    correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour
    and reputation. Everyone has the right to the
    protection of the law against such interference
    or attacks.
  • 13 Everyone has the right to freedom of movement
    and residence within the borders of each state.
  • Everyone has the right to leave any country,
    including his own, and to return to his country.
  • 14. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy
    in other countries asylum from persecution.
  • 15. Everyone has the right to a nationality.
  • 16. Men and women of full age, without any
    limitation due to race, nationality or religion,
    have the right to marry and to found a family.
    They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage,
    during marriage and at its dissolution.
  • Marriage shall be entered into only with the free
    and full consent of the intending spouses.
  • The family is the natural and fundamental group
    unit of society and is entitled to protection by
    society and the State.
  • 17. Everyone has the right to own property alone
    as well as in association with others.
  • 18. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought,
    conscience and religion this right includes
    freedom to change his religion or belief, and
    freedom, either alone or in community with others
    and in public or private, to manifest his
    religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship
    and observance.
  • 19. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion
    and expression this right includes freedom to
    hold opinions without interference and to seek,
    receive and impart information through any media
    and regardless of frontiers.
  • 20. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful
    assembly and association.
  • 21. Everyone has the right to take part in the
    government of his country, directly or through
    freely chosen representatives.
  • Everyone has the right of equal access to public
    service in his country.
  • The will of the people shall be the basis of the
    authority of government this will shall be
    expressed in periodic and genuine elections which
    shall be by universal and equal suffrage and
    shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent
    free voting procedures.

B. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948),
  • 22. Everyone, as a member of society, has the
    right to social security and is entitled to
    realization, through national effort and
    international co-operation and in accordance with
    the organization and resources of each State, of
    the economic, social and cultural rights
    indispensable for his dignity and the free
    development of his personality.
  • 23.Everyone has the right to work, to free choice
    of employment, to just and favourable conditions
    of work and to protection against unemployment.
  • everyone, without any discrimination, has the
    right to equal pay for equal work.
  • Everyone who works has the right to just and
    favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and
    his family an existence worthy of human dignity,
    and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of
    social protection.
  • Everyone has the right to form and to join trade
    unions for the protection of his interests.
  • 24. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure,
    including reasonable limitation of working hours
    and periodic holidays with pay.
  • 25. Everyone has the right to a standard of
    living adequate for the health and well-being of
    himself and of his family, including food,
    clothing, housing and medical care and necessary
    social services, and the right to security in the
    event of unemployment, sickness, disability,
    widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in
    circumstances beyond his control.
  • Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special
    care and assistance. All children, whether born
    in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social
  • 26. Everyone has the right to education.
    Education shall be free, at least in the
    elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary
    education shall be compulsory. Technical and
    professional education shall be made generally
    available and higher education shall be equally
    accessible to all on the basis of merit.
  • Education shall be directed to the full
    development of the human personality and to the
    strengthening of respect for human rights and
    fundamental freedoms. It shall promote
    understanding, tolerance and friendship among all
    nations, racial or religious groups, and shall
    further the activities of the United Nations for
    the maintenance of peace.
  • Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of
    education that shall be given to their children.
  • 27 Everyone has the right freely to participate
    in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy
    the arts and to share in scientific advancement
    and its benefits.
  • Everyone has the right to the protection of the
    moral and material interests resulting from any
    scientific, literary or artistic production of
    which he is the author.
  • 28. Everyone is entitled to a social and
    international order in which the rights and
    freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be
    fully realized.
  • 29. Everyone has duties to the community in which
    alone the free and full development of his
    personality is possible.
  • In the exercise of his rights and freedoms,
    everyone shall be subject only to such
    limitations as are determined by law solely for
    the purpose of securing due recognition and
    respect for the rights and freedoms of others and
    of meeting the just requirements of morality,
    public order and the general welfare in a
    democratic society.
  • These rights and freedoms may in no case be
    exercised contrary to the purposes and principles
    of the United Nations.
  • 30. Nothing in this Declaration may be
    interpreted as implying for any State, group or
    person any right to engage in any activity or to
    perform any act aimed at the destruction of any
    of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

Who was Eleanor Roosevelt?
  • Franklin Roosevelts wife
  • Delegate to UN after FDRs death
  • Led effort to pass a Universal Declaration

B. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
  • Example of arguments on behalf of Declaration
  • Eleanor Roosevelt Address to the United Nations
    General Assembly, Dec., 1948 at
  • My Government has made it clear in the course of
    the development of the Declaration that it does
    not consider that the economic and social and
    cultural rights stated in the Declaration imply
    an obligation on governments to assure the
    enjoyment of these rights by direct governmental
    action. . . . This in no way affects our
    whole-hearted support for the basic principles of
    economic, social, and cultural rights set forth
    in these articles.
  • In giving our approval to the Declaration today
    it is of primary importance that we keep clearly
    in mind the basic character of the document. It
    is not a treaty it is not an international
    agreement. It is not and does not purport to be a
    statement of of law or of legal obligation. It is
    a Declaration of basic principles of human rights
    and freedoms, to be stamped with the approval of
    the General Assembly by formal vote of its
    members, and to serve as a common standard of
    achievement for all peoples of all nations.
  • We stand today at the threshold of a great event
    both in the life of the United Nations and in the
    life of mankind. This Universal Declaration of
    Human Rights may well become the international
    Magna Carta of all men everywhere. We hope its
    proclamation by the General Assembly will be an
    event comparable to the proclamation of the
    Declaration of the Rights of Man by the French
    people in 1789, the adoption of the Bill of
    Rights by the people of the United States, and
    the adoption of comparable declarations at
    different times in other countries.

B. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
  • Example of arguments against Declaration
  • 1. Glenn Wiceshyn, United Nations Declaration of
    Human Rights Destroys Individual
    Rights (December 11, 1998 at http//
  • The declaration first covers what appear to be
    legitimate rights, such as "the right to life,
    liberty and security of person," "the right to
    own property," and freedom of "thought" and
    "opinion." (The right to pursue happiness is
    absent, for reasons that will soon become
    obvious.) It then introduces a series of
    "economic rights," such as a person's "right" to
    work, paid holidays, protection against
    unemployment, social security, free education,
    and a standard of living adequate for the health
    and well-being of himself and of his family,
    including food, clothing, housing and medical
    care .If people are entitled to these, who will
    be forced to provide them? Whose property will be
    seized to pay for them?Such "economic rights"
    obviously contradict the right to liberty and
    property. There can be no such thing as a right
    to violate the rights of others. "Economic
    rights" merely hand government the power to
    violate individual rights, thereby rendering the
    individual a slave to the needs and desires of
    others. They effectively make communism the
    social ideal.
  • 2. In 1981, the Iranian representative to the
    United Nations, Said Rajaie-Khorassani,
    articulated the position of his country regarding
    the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by
    saying that the UDHR was a "a secular
    understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition",
    which could not be implemented by Muslims without
    trespassing Islamic law.

B. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
  • Recommended Reading
  • Elizabeth Borgwardt, A New Deal for the World
    America's Vision for Human Rights (Harvard, 2005)
    describes how a cadre of World War II American
    planners inaugurated the ideas and institutions
    that underlie our modern international human
    rights regime. Borgwardt finds the key in the
    1941 Atlantic Charter and its Anglo-American
    vision of "war and peace aims." In attempting to
    globalize what U.S. planners heralded as domestic
    New Deal ideas about security, the ideology of
    the Atlantic Charter--buttressed by FDR's "Four
    Freedoms" and the legacies of World War
    I--redefined human rights and America's vision
    for the world.
  • Three sets of international negotiations brought
    the Atlantic Charter blueprint to life--Bretton
    Woods, the United Nations, and the Nuremberg
    trials. These new institutions set up mechanisms
    to stabilize the international economy, promote
    collective security, and implement new thinking
    about international justice. The design of these
    institutions served as a concrete articulation of
    U.S. national interests, even as they emphasized
    the importance of working with allies to achieve
    common goals. The American architects of these
    charters were attempting to redefine the idea of
    security in the international sphere. To varying
    degrees, these institutions and the debates
    surrounding them set the foundations for the
    world we know today.
  • Borgwardts study illuminates the New Deals
    vision of modern human rights, trade and the
    global economy, collective security, and
    international law.

Four Topics that Highlight Significant Questions
for Foreign Policy History
  • A. Dropping of A-bomb (1945)
  • questions about the advent of the atomic age
  • B. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
  • questions about what should count as
    universal and as a right
  • C. National Security Document-68 (1950)
  • questions about new executive branch powers to
    wage the Cold War
  • D. Cold War Expositions of the 1950s
  • questions about soft vs hard power

C. National Security Document-68 (1950)
  • This once top-secret document was drawn up by
    President Harry Trumans staff to provide an
    overall plan for fighting communism in the Cold
    War. Its recommendations, associated with a
    policy called containment, came to be
    implemented under the pressure of the Korean War,
    which seemed to provide evidence of the Kremlin
    design for expansion.
  • The full text of NSC-68 (over 50 pages) is posted
    on site of the Federation of American Scientists
    at http//
    tm .
  • The excerpt below illustrates the broad new
    executive branch powers that were developed
    during the early Cold War. What are these new
    powers and what have been some of their long-term
  • Recommended Reading See Melvyn Leffler, The
    Specter of Communism for more context.

C. National Security Document-68 (1950)
  • A comprehensive and decisive program to win the
    peace and frustrate the Kremlin design should be
    so designed that it can be sustained for as long
    as necessary to achieve our national objectives.
    It would probably involve
  • The development of an adequate political and
    economic framework for the achievement of our
    long-range objectives.
  • A substantial increase in expenditures for
    military purposes adequate to meet the
    requirements for the tasks listed in Section D-1.
  • A substantial increase in military assistance
    programs, designed to foster cooperative efforts,
    which will adequately and efficiently meet the
    requirements of our allies for the tasks referred
    to in Section D-l-e.
  • Some increase in economic assistance programs and
    recognition of the need to continue these
    programs until their purposes have been
  • A concerted attack on the problem of the United
    States balance of payments, along the lines
    already approved by the President.
  • Development of programs designed to build and
    maintain confidence among other peoples in our
    strength and resolution, and to wage overt
    psychological warfare calculated to encourage
    mass defections from Soviet allegiance and to
    frustrate the Kremlin design in other ways.
  • Intensification of affirmative and timely
    measures and operations by covert means in the
    fields of economic warfare and political and
    psychological warfare with a view to fomenting
    and supporting unrest and revolt in selected
    strategic satellite countries.
  • Development of internal security and civilian
    defense programs.
  • Improvement and intensification of intelligence
  • Reduction of Federal expenditures for purposes
    other than defense and foreign assistance, if
    necessary by the deferment of certain desirable
  • Increased taxes.

C. National Security Document-68 (1950),
  • From the point of view of the economy as a
    whole, the program might not result in a real
    decrease in the standard of living, for the
    economic effects of the program might be to
    increase the gross national product by more than
    the amount being absorbed for additional military
    and foreign assistance purposes.
  • One of the most significant lessons of our World
    War 11 experience was that the American economy,
    when it operates at a level approaching full
    efficiency, can provide enormous resources for
    purposes other than civilian consumption while
    simultaneously providing a high standard of

Four Topics that Highlight Significant Questions
for Foreign Policy History
  • A. Dropping of A-bomb (1945)
  • questions about the advent of the atomic age
  • B. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
  • questions about what should count as
    universal and as a right
  • C. National Security Document-68 (1950)
  • questions about new executive branch powers to
    wage the Cold War
  • D. Cold War Expositions of the 1950s
  • questions about soft vs hard power

D. Cold War Expositions of the 1950s
  • What is hard vs soft power? (See Joseph Nye,
    Soft Power)
  • U.S. Expositions abroad during the 1950s aimed to
    convince the world of the superiority of the
    American Way of Life
  • Lets look at some photos and talk about some of
    the elements of this American Way

Brussels Exposition, 1958
U.S. Pavilion in Brussels, 1958
Soviet Pavilion, Brussels
Interior of US Pavilion Fashion Show with
People Watching?
Practice for U.S. Fashion Show, Brussels,
1958 Lee Canfield (sister of Jacqueline
Kennedy) orchestrated the Vogue Fashion show
called the Young America Look
American Culture as a Culture of
Transformation And Self-fashioning?
Brussels Exposition, 1958 Workers look through
US mail order catalog The Sears Roebuck catalog
was especially popular in Brussels
Snack Bar and Ice Cream Parlor
Russians try on propeller beanies
Children's Creative Center, sponsored by the
Museum of Modern Art, in the American
Pavillion, Brussels World's Fair.
Kitchen in Soviet Pavilion
Highly advertised U.S. kitchens
  • Modern kitchens are one of the most important
    weapons in the psychological battle to win the
    uncommitted nations to the free way of life. . .
    .It is one of the wonders of the world that
    Americans in every economic strata have kitchens
    with labor-saving devices which free the American
    woman from drudgery, which make the kitchen the
    heart of the home. Katherine Howard (2nd
    deputy commissioner of the exhibition).

American Exposition, Moscow 1959
Vogue magazine
  • Vogue Magazine, Coty
  • Cosmetics, and Helena
  • Rubenstein were partners with US Information
    Agency at Cold War Expositions in Brussels in
    1958 and Moscow in 1959

Vogue Fashions in Moscow, 1959
Ranch-style home of 1950s
American Exposition, Moscow, 1959
V.P. Nixon and Khrushchev in Kitchen Debate, 1959
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Put me to the test at http//
Consider the role of Hollywood films, popular
throughout the world, in spreading ideas about
the U.S.
  • In 1951, American sociologist David Riesman
    published a satiric essay entitled "The Nylon
    War", in which he envisioned an American aerial
    offensive to bombard Soviet citizens with
    consumer goods, ranging from "nylon hose" to
    radios and even jeeps.
  • full text can be found through Google-books

Some Conclusions
  • The Cold War is often cast as a story of high
    politics military and diplomatic confrontation.
  • But it was also waged at the cultural level in
    ways that equated attributes of American culture
    and an American Look with modernity and
  • Maybe these appeals were ultimately critical to
    winning the Cold War. . . . Could David
    Riesmans idea have saved us a lot of money?

Some Questions to Consider
  • Does the U.S. still project the codes that signal
    useful cultural capital in the world?
  • Will the decline in U.S. economic power and
    influence mean a decline in Americas cultural
  • Brad DeLong, a UCB economist, argues that
    cultural power stems from economic strength See
    next two slides.
  • http//

Soft power -- not military might, not
straight-out money, but the ability to inspire
acceptance and imitation -- was a vital component
of American international dominance. Money, of
course, is power. Because America had the money
-- had it solidly, rightfully, self-assuredly,
and durably -- for about 100 years, people all
over the world wanted to be like Americans
successful, modern, loose-jointed, efficient,
democratic, socially mobile, leggy, clean,
powerful, and, of course, rich. Money brings a
nation powerit brings the power to propagate,
consciously or not, the ideas, concerns,
fashions, norms, interests, amusements, and ways
of displaying and behaving that come out of its
culture. These penetrate deep down into other
cultures as well as its own they become part of
daily life. This is luxuriant power It doesn't
have to be exercised willfully or even
consciously, and it doesn't even cost anything
extra. It was clearly the way to be. As the
United States emerged in the aftermath of World
War I as the top power and giant money master,
American jazz swept through Europe, faster than
Ford and Kodak. Later, especially after World War
II, Europeans eagerly welcomed the onslaught of
American movies. Most Europeans encountered
America at the movies, but two generations of
rather privileged Europeans traveled to America
to see for themselves (many sponsored by the
State Department), to behold the skyscrapers of
New York, the George Washington and Golden Gate
bridges, and the houses of rather ordinary people
with huge shiny cars, washing machines,
televisions, and the orthodontically enhanced
smiles on tall, milk- and meat-fed women.
From Brad De Long, End of Influence? continued
American cultural dominance has continued to
grow. Teenagers around the globe now uniformly
dress in styles pioneered by American teens and
have even adopted the same body language. They
eat on the street. The American-designed,
Asian-manufactured iPods fill their heads with
the same harsh music they instant-message, blog,
and Tweet. And the English language -- not
altogether an American cultural invention -- is
not merely the international language, but also
the second language for a vast global population
Languages carry more than their words and
grammar they carry cultural form and content.
America will be less and less the origin of new
cultural trends or global memes First, because
the others now have the money. But also, because
while America remains especially modern, the
modern is no longer especially American it is
rapidly becoming semiglobal and if not old, at
least very mature.
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