The Interim Period, 1952 to 1965

  • Phil Williams


By April 1951, the Senate had exhausted both itself and the issue of sending US troops to Europe. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that for the rest of the decade the military presence in Europe was not something which generated much argument. The ‘Great Debate’ acted almost as a catharsis, allowing senators to ventilate their grievances and anxieties about the direction of United States foreign policy, and then turn to other matters. Nevertheless, the debate had revealed that the US contribution to NATO, and especially the presence of a substantial number of troops in Europe, was an issue with an inherent potential for controversy. Inevitable uncertainties about what constituted fair shares, lingering doubts over the vigour and reliability of the European allies, and a continuing faith in the principle of self-help, all contributed to this potential. Nor was it simply a partisan matter: although the opposition to sending troops had come primarily from one section of the Republican Party, concern over equitable burden-sharing transcended this group and was clearly evident not only among Republicans who were more sympathetic to Truman’s decision, but also among loyal Democrats.


Foreign Policy Interim Period Great Debate Defence Budget American Troop 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    R. F. Grimmett, ‘The Politics of Containment: the President, the Senate and American Foreign Policy, 1947–1956’ (Kent State University: PhD diss, 1973) pp. 167–8.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    The best analysis of the ‘new look’ remains that by Glenn Snyder in W. Schilling, P. Hammond and G. Snyder, Strategy, Politics and Defense Budgets (New York: Columbia University Press, 1962).Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    R. A. Divine, Foreign Policy and U.S. Presidential Elections: 1952, 1956 (New York: Franklin Watts, 1974) p. 24.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    T. Hoopes, The Devil and John Foster Dulles (Boston: Little, Brown, 1973) p. 199.Google Scholar
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    See Jewell, Senatorial Politics, pp. 23–8. For the pressures from the Democrats for the Administration to expand the defence budget see ch. 6 of E. A. Kolodziej, The Uncommon Defense and Congress, 1945–63 (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 1966).Google Scholar
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    W. S. White, ‘Mender Charges Aid Waste Abroad’, New York Times, 21 December 1951.Google Scholar
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    M. Mansfield, Address to the Springfield Adult Education Council, Springfield Public Forum, The Phillips Lecture, Technical High School, Springfield Mass., 10 October 1962, p. 4.Google Scholar
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© Phil Williams 1985

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  • Phil Williams

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