China’s Place in the Cold War: the Acheson Plan

  • Nancy Bernkopf Tucker


Scholars examining the second Truman Administration have come to see Dean Acheson as the embodiment of Cold War ideology from 1949 to 1953. Acheson certainly subscribed to a picture of himself manning the gates against a dangerous Communist menace whose threat to the security of the United States was staunched only through his vigilance and determination. His memoir Present at the Creation makes his position on the ramparts clear. During his tenure as Secretary of State the United States imposed the North Atlantic Treaty upon the Marshall Plan, turning it into a military alliance, and mounted an airlift to keep Berlin free. Acheson abjured negotiation with Moscow, demanding that the Western alliance first establish positions of strength to bargain from. Thus Acheson emerged as a potent force for Communist containment across Europe. This stance, however, has misled students of the Secretary’s policies to assume a seamless, global application of his outlook. The thread runs through the work of scholars as diverse as Ronald Steel, Gabriel Kolko, Herbert Feis, Melvyn Leffler, Seyom Brown and Walter LaFeber.1


Foreign Policy Taiwan Strait American Policy Author Interview National Security Council 
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  1. 1.
    The best statement of Ronald Steel’s views appears in the summary of discussions at a 1978 conference on Chinese-American relations in Dorothy Borg and Waldo Heinrichs (ed.), Uncertain Years: Chinese-American Relations, 1947–1950 (New York, 1980) 54–5;Google Scholar
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© Douglas Brinkley 1993

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  • Nancy Bernkopf Tucker

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