The Commitment Challenged: The ‘Great Debate’ of 1951
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For a nation which had always been reluctant to support a standing army, and had traditionally relied upon wartime mobilisation rather than peacetime preparedness, the decision to send US troops to Europe was momentous — as great a departure from the past precepts of American military policy as the North Atlantic Treaty had been from the orthodoxies of American diplomacy. Yet the announcement of the decision on 9 September 1950 was met by a mixture of acquiescence and apathy. The challenge to the decision was not to emerge until well over three months later; the issue was then to consume the interest and attention of the Senate — to the exclusion of almost all other business — during January, February and March of 1951.
KeywordsForeign Policy Foreign Relation Great Debate Ground Force American Troop
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Notes and References
- 3.For a fuller account of Taft’s position see J. T. Patterson, Mr Republican: A Biography of Robert Taft (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972) especially pp. 474–96.Google Scholar
- 4.Quoted in M. Bundy (ed), The Pattern of Responsibility (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1952) p. 86.Google Scholar
- 5.H. B. Shill III, ‘Senate Activism and Security Commitments: The Troops-To-Europe and National Commitments Resolutions’, PhD dissertation (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1973) pp. 149–51.Google Scholar
- 13.W. Lippmann, ‘Mr Truman and the Constitution’ reproduced in Congressional Record, 16 January 1951, pp. 313–14.Google Scholar
- 43.See W. B. Truitt, ‘The Troops to Europe Decision: The Process, Politics and Diplomacy of a Strategic Commitment’, PhD dissertation (New York: Columbia University, 1968) p. 349.Google Scholar
- 59.R. L. Strout, ‘Direct Test By-passed’, Christian Science Monitor, 23 January 1951.Google Scholar
- 80.See R. Taft, ‘Address to Executives Club of Chicago’ reprinted in the Appendix to the Congressional Record (1951) pp. 418–20.Google Scholar
- 139.R. L. Strout, ‘Troops to Europe Backed in Senate: New Bout Looms’, Christian Science Monitor, 19 March 1951.Google Scholar
- 156.W. S. White, ‘Democrats Wary of Vote on Troops’, New York Times, 30 March 1951.Google Scholar
- 166.W. S. White, ‘First Vote Reversed: Chamber Rejects Curb by McClellan, Then Adopts Declaration’, New York Times, 3 April 1951.Google Scholar