• Phil Williams


American foreign policy since 1945 has been surrounded by controversy and debate. Isolationists, internationalists, realists and idealists, conservatives and liberals, have all propounded their particular philosophies and divergent prescriptions. One issue on which there has been fairly widespread agreement, however, has been the need for a strong vigorous Atlantic Alliance. Continued participation in NATO has been a cardinal tenet of United States foreign policy through successive administrations and until the early 1980s the alliance itself appeared to be a revered institution testifying to the wisdom and foresight of its founders in the late 1940s. There has been far less agreement though on the necessity for a large-scale conventional military presence in Westrn Europe as part of the American contribution to the common security programme. Indeed, President Truman’s decision, announced in September 1950, to support and strengthen the Atlantic Pact by sending ground forces to Europe met considerable opposition and led, in the early months of 1951, to what was termed the ‘Great Debate’ on American foreign policy.


Foreign Policy American Foreign Policy Military Presence American Troop Congressional Record 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    An extremely good analysis which deals with these arguments is M. Foley, The New Senate: Liberal Influence on a Conservative Institution, 1959–1972 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1980).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    D. R. Matthews, US Senators and their World (New York: Vintage Books, 1960) p. 247.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Phil Williams 1985

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  • Phil Williams

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