Eisenhowers Shall I Go to Korea Essay

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Eisenhower gave an indication of his foreign policy in his inaugural address and promised to follow the policy of internationalism of Roosevelt and Truman. Though he openly denounced the policy of appeasement-he said that, The vital lesson is this: To vacillate, to appease, and to placate is only to invite war-vaster war-bloodier war. In the words of the late Senior [Arthur H. ] Vandenberg, appeasement is not the road to peace; it is only surrender on the installment plan. I will always reject appeasement. And that is my fourth pledge to you.

(Eisenhower, 1952) He also pledged American cooperation with other powers with a view to remove the causes of mutual fear and distrust among nations. On subsequent occasions, he further clarified his foreign policy and promised continuation of aid to the allies of the US, continuation of the reciprocal trade programmed with other countries of the world, and repudiation of agreement with government, which permitted the enslavement of peoples. In view of these announcements president Eisenhower set forth to follow a new and tougher line in foreign policy.

Two factors contributed to this development. Firstly, in March 1953 Stalin died and it was expected that Russia would be more disposed towards compromise. Secondly, John Foster Dulles, the secretary of state who actually controlled the foreign policy believed that containment would not serve the purpose and pleaded for more dynamism in American policy. He stood for the liberation of people who had been subjected to the communist control the advocated the policy of going to the brink of war and resort to massive retaliation if the communists refused to come to term.

Korean issue was one of the first problems, which attracted the attention of the president. He said in his speech that, The first task of a new Administration will be to review and re-examine every course of action open to us with one goal in view: To bring the Korean War to an early and honorable end. This is my pledge to the American people for this task a wholly new Administration is necessary. The reason for this is simple. The old Administration cannot be expected to repair what it failed to prevent. (Eisenhower, 1952)

Eisenhower believed that Korean war was escapable as he said in his speech that, The biggest fact about the Korean war is this: It was never inevitable, it was never inescapable, no fantastic fiat of history decreed that little South Korea-in the summer of 1950-would fatally tempt Communist aggressors as their easiest victim. No demonic destiny decreed that America had to be bled this way in order to keep South Korea free and to keep freedom itself-self-respecting. (Eisenhower, 1952)He decided to follow a different policy then his predecessors, he said that, We are not mute prisoners of history.

That is a doctrine for totalitarians; it is no creed for free men. (Eisenhower, 1952) In keeping with his electoral pledge, Eisenhower visited Korea in the interval between his election and inauguration. After protracted negotiations an agreement was reached at in 1953by, which an armistice was arranged and the two parties agreed to exchange the prisoners of war. Korea was divided according to the existing military situation, which meant that the South Koreans got about fifteen hundred square miles of territory.

It was also agreed that prisoners were not to be returned against their will, the exchange being supervised by five neutral countries. In Indo-china, France had been fighting a losing war against the communist led national; movement. In 1954 the French were besieged in the fortress of Dien Bien Phu. At this stage Secretary of State Dulles favored of U. S. intervention in Indo-china because he felt that the loss of this area to the communist would lead to the loss of entire South East Asia. Though Eisenhower did not want the communist victory, he was not willing to send American forces to fight alone.

In May 1954the French surrendered and a conference of the interested parties was held at Geneva. Indo-China was divided into three parts-Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Vietnam was to be divided the 17th parallel until elections after two years determined its future. However, these elections could never take place and during the next few years South Vietnam and North Vietnam struggled to achieve a stable regime. While the Americans assisted South Vietnam, the North Vietnam received help from Russia and China

With a view to check he expansion of communism in this region in 1954 united states formed a military alliance on the pattern of NATO consisting of Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Philippines, Pakistan and the US- popularly known as South-East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). He said in his speech that, We can-secondly-shape our psychological warfare program into a weapon capable of cracking the Communist front. Beyond all this we must carefully weigh all interrelated courses of action.

We will, of course, constantly confer with associated free nations of Asia and with the cooperating members of the United Nations. Thus we could bring into being a practical plan for world peace. That is my third pledge to you. (Eisenhower, 1952) The signatory states agreed to mutual economic cooperation and protection against subversion or aggression. The next challenge to America was provided by Formosa in the Far East. The Chinese communists stepped up preparations attacking Chiangs refuge on Formosa, which was a vital bastion of anti-communist strength in the east.

Eisenhower as well as Dulles did not favor American embroilment in the dispute and Eisenhower administration announced that the American States would abandon the policy of preventing the Nationalists from being attacked by the mainland. But soon Eisenhower administration realized that this attitude on their part might only lead to the loss of Formosa. Consequently in 1955 Eisenhower asked and received authority from the congress authorizing the president to use force if necessary, to protect the island.

With the same objective in mind Eisenhower administration continued to deny recognition to red china and block her entry in to the United States. After assumption of power in Russia by Khrushchev in 1955 and open condemnation of the previous rulers of soviet Russia by the new leader, there was a growing hope that the relations between America and Russia would become cordial. However, soon it became evident that it was a high hope incapable of realization. The two powers engaged in a mad race for more sophisticated weapons. They discovered international ballistic missiles.

Soon Russia stole a march over United States by putting the first earth satellite (sputnik) in the orbit. Within one year America launched its first satellite, explorer. In the next few years a mad race in launching of satellites started between these two powers. United States also stole a lead by launching nuclear-powered submarines. An effort to check this mad race for armament was made in 1957 when the United Nations Disarmament Commission consisting of delegates from United States, Russia, England, France and Canada met at London.

However, no progress could be made due to east-West differences regarding detection and inspection of nuclear weapons. Russia gained a publicity advantage by announcing an end of bomb testing in March 1958. In spite of these differences, the two countries tried to come closer to each other. Eisenhower laid utmost importance on a sound and up-to-the-mark foreign policy as he said in his speech that, A nations foreign policy is a much graver matter than rustling papers and bustling conferences.

It is much more than diplomatic decisions and trade treaties and military arrangements. A foreign policy is the face and voice of a whole people. It is all that the world sees and hears and understands about a single nation. It expresses the character and the faith and the will of that nation. In this, a nation is like any individual of our personal acquaintance; the simplest gesture can betray hesitation or weakness, the mere inflection of voice can reveal doubt or fear. It is in this deep sense that our foreign policy has faltered and failed.

(Eisenhower, 1952) The above discussion of the foreign policy of Eisenhower shows that although it began with predictions of dynamic new departures from the previous foreign policy, it did not show itself in any manner to be distinctive from the. As a result of American inaction in the face of upheavals in East Germany in 1953and in Hungary and Poland in 1956, the promise of liberating people under communist control were not implemented.


Eisenhower. 1952,. Shall I Go to Korea. 09 April 2008. <>

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