The First Cold Warrior: Harry Truman, Containment, and the Remaking of Liberal Internationalism

The First Cold Warrior: Harry Truman, Containment, and the Remaking of Liberal Internationalism

by Elizabeth Edwards Spalding
     
 

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From the first days of his unexpected presidency in April 1945 through the landmark NSC 68 of 1950, Harry Truman was central to the formation of America's grand strategy during the Cold War and the subsequent remaking of U.S. foreign policy. Others are frequently associated with the terminology of and responses to the perceived global Communist threat after the

Overview

From the first days of his unexpected presidency in April 1945 through the landmark NSC 68 of 1950, Harry Truman was central to the formation of America's grand strategy during the Cold War and the subsequent remaking of U.S. foreign policy. Others are frequently associated with the terminology of and responses to the perceived global Communist threat after the Second World War: Walter Lippmann popularized the term "cold war," and George F. Kennan first used the word "containment" in a strategic sense. Although Kennan, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, and Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall have been seen as the most influential architects of American Cold War foreign policy, The First Cold Warrior draws on archives and other primary sources to demonstrate that Harry Truman was the key decision maker in the critical period between 1945 and 1950. In a significant reassessment of the thirty-third president and his political beliefs, Elizabeth Edwards Spalding contends that it was Truman himself who defined and articulated the theoretical underpinnings of containment. His practical leadership style was characterized by policies and institutions such as the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, NATO, the Berlin airlift, the Department of Defense, and the National Security Council. Part of Truman's unique approach -- shaped by his religious faith and dedication to anti-communism -- was to emphasize the importance of free peoples, democratic institutions, and sovereign nations. With these values, he fashioned a new liberal internationalism, distinct from both Woodrow Wilson's progressive internationalism and Franklin D. Roosevelt's liberal pragmatism, which still shapes our politics. Truman deserves greater credit for understanding the challenges of his time and for being America's first cold warrior. This reconsideration of Truman's overlooked statesmanship provides a model for interpreting the international crises facing the United States in this new era of ideological conflict.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Truman supporters will praise the volume... Recommended." — Choice

"Offers a powerful example of how prudently to derive, articulate, and persuade principled political ends.... We owe Spalding a debt of gratitude for shedding important new light on the Truman Administration and on the character of its central figure." — Claremont Review of Books

"This is an excellent book for those passionate about the evolution of America's national security and grand strategies pursued during the Cold War." — Great lakes Bulletin

"Spalding's new book indicates what may become a new strain in the study of American foreign policy." — Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"An important reevaluation of Truman. " — Ron Radosh, TNR blog

"This Harry Truman biography is more academic than most books about his colorful personality and presidency. Spalding's final chapter is a substantive treatment of Truman's underestimated faith, particularly in relation to his Cold War anti-Communism." — Paul Kengor, Christianity Today

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813138398
Publisher:
University Press of Kentucky
Publication date:
05/26/2006
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
File size:
1 MB

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