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Dulles, John Foster (1888–1959)

Subject History

Place Northern America » United States of America

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631209379.1999.x


US Secretary of State (1953–9). The deeply religious son of a Presbyterian minister, he was educated at Princeton and the Sorbonne and became a renowned international lawyer who attended the Versailles Conference in 1919. Dulles was the Republican spokesman on foreign policy during the presidencies of Franklin Roosevelt and truman , was an adviser to the US government when the united nations was formed and negotiated the san francisco treaty (1951) with Japan to end the Allied occupation of japan . President eisenhower appointed him Secretary of State in 1953. He loathed atheistic communism and condemned George Kennan's policy of containment, adopted by Truman, as ‘negative, futile and immoral’, as it accepted the status quo and was ‘not designed to win victory conclusively’. He talked about the ‘roll-back’ of communism in Eastern Europe, the ‘liberation’ of captive peoples and the ‘unleashing’ of jiang jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) against the Chinese mainland. Such rhetoric alarmed many, as it seemed to make war inevitable, but Dulles was restrained by the moderate and cautious Eisenhower, so that in practice the foreign policy of Eisenhower and Dulles was little different from that of Truman and acheson . As Eisenhower cut back on defence spending, Dulles based his diplomacy on ‘massive retaliation’, which meant responding with tactical nuclear weapons and therefore overwhelming ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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