Paper 3

19. Assess the successes and failures of the foreign policies of either Eisenhower (1953-61) or Kennedy (1961-63).

Eisenhower (1953-61)
I. Introduction – The Cold War was well under way when Eisenhower was elected President. He was forced to make several difficult foreign policy decisions to contain the communism of the Soviet Union without causing total destruction of the world. He accomplished this through policies based on brinkmanship and threats of massive retaliation. He maintained the freedom of Berlin through these methods, but he did not have as much success in Cuba and Guatemala. While Eisenhower made some improvements in the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union during his presidency, he was quick to react when he believed they were becoming involved in Latin American affairs.
II. Brinkmanship and threats of massive retaliation (belief that the USSR could be taken to the brink with threats, and they would eventually back down)
a. Decreased with the improvements of Soviet weapons
b. Geneva summit (1956)
i. Proposals to de-escalate the arms race
ii. Proposal of “open skies” policy – would allow each to fly over the other’s territory (preventing a first strike attack)
iii. Didn’t make any agreements, and each side was still wary, but it marked a departure from pure hostility
c. Didn’t follow through with threats to protect countries from the USSR
i. Hungarians revolted in 1956 – the USSR crushed the rebellion
1. the U.S. did not challenge the fact that Eastern Europe was in the Soviet Sphere of influence
III. Berlin
a. West Germany and U.S. believed Germany should be reunified by free elections
b. Soviets supported the permanent division of Germany
c. Berlin ultimatum – 1958 – Khrushchev threatened to take away Berlin’s freedom
i. Eisenhower refused to vacate Berlin, and Khrushchev backed down
d. Paris summit meeting – 1960 – ended when American U-2 was shot down over the USSR
e. Berlin wall - 1961
IV. Cuba/Guatemala
a. Castro took power in 1959 and began nationalizing businesses
i. U.S. instated a trade embargo
1. Cuba turned towards USSR to receive economic help
ii. Cut all diplomatic ties with Cuba in 1961 because they were associating with the Soviets
iii. Attempted to use the CIA to get rid of Castro (Bay of Pigs was Eisenhower’s plan)
b. Arbenz was elected in 1954 – nationalized land of U.S. banana companies
i. U.S. supported revolutionaries in the overthrow of Arbenz and replaced it with a pro-U.S. military regime
V. Conclusion

• Politically defeats candidate Nixon in the 1960s. One of the closest elections in American history

Cuba and the Bay of Pigs invasion
-US trained Cuban insurgents were to invade Cuba and instigate an uprising to oust Castro from power. Kennedy ordered the invasion to take place without U.S. air support and on April 19, 1961 the invaders were killed. Cubans have Kennedy negotiate in order to release 1,189 survivors
20 months later Cuba releases prisoners in exchange for $53 million worth of medicine and food.
*Vietnam (up for you to decide)

*Cuba Missile Crisis
-October 14,1962
-if U.S. attack then its war with USSR; if U.S. does not attack then it becomes a target
SOLUTION: naval quarantine to search all incoming ships to Cuba. US negotiates with the USSR

*Fought communism with Alliance for Progress in Latin America
*Peace Corps—-designed to assist underdeveloped nations with education, family, healthcare, and construction.

*Vietnam (up for you to decide)
*Passes Civil Rights LegislationCivil Rights Movement
*Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
Prohibits atomic testing on ground, atmosphere, or underwater [US, UK, USSR accepts]
*Space Program: exploration, land man on moon (May 25, 1961)




  • Cuba and the Bay of Pigs
    • Invasion failed and made the US look bad
    • The Cuban government captured or killed all of the invading exiles and released the rest of the captured exiles for $53 million dollars, which further humiliated the US
    • This was caused by a lack of communication between military leadership
  • Vietnam
    • Because Kennedy was assassinated while this was in progress, it’s hard to say if it was a complete failure. However, it was not a success.
    • Kennedy increased military support, but the South Vietnamese made no progress
      • In fact, the South Vietnamese government was overthrown, which shows serious instability and little hope


  • Cuban Missile Crisis
    • Kennedy was able to negotiate Khrushchev into removing the nuclear weapons from Cuba without violence
    • Kennedy looked very strong and this saved him from his Bay of Pigs fiasco
  • Peace Corps
    • Kennedy created the Peace Corps
  • Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
    • The US, UK , and USSR were the original members of the treaty, which went into affect in1963
    • This prohibited atomic testing on the ground, in the atmosphere, or underwater, but not underground

Ebet Davey
I. While President Eisenhower is usually looked upon with approval and admiration, his policies did not always exemplify his deserving of these things. He did succeed in stopping communism from coming to some countries, but he also led to bigger problems that would continue after he stepped down from office.

II. CIA intervention

a. Guatemala
b. Nicaragua
c. Whether it was right or wrong it unsure, but he never thought twice

III. McCarthy issue
a. He did get rid of the whole Paul McCarthy thing
b. He did assure us we would be ready if something happened

IV. Led to Cuban Missile Crisis
a. Since Guatemala and Nicaragua worked, why not Cuba?
b. Set a trap for the US unknowingly

V. Conclusion
a. Recap
b. Restate thesis

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License