• Created by: Megan1900
  • Created on: 14-04-18 14:38

EISENHOWER (1952-1960)


Eisenhower’s Foreign Policy Priorities:

  • West Europe must not go communist 
  • The middle east had half of the worlds oil so the soviets had to be stopped if they tried to control it. 
  • USA must stay strong but not weakened by overspending on defence. 

Brinkmanship - John Foster Dulles defined it as ‘massive retaliation’ and ‘getting to the verge without getting into the war’ in order to defeat communist ambitions. 

Eisenhower’s New Look Policy

    The US had fewer conventional forces and rely instead of nuclear weapons as Eisenhower wanted ‘more bang for buck’. In 1954, Secretary of State Dulles said America would use ‘massive retaliatory power’ to halt aggression, explaining that ‘massive retaliatory’ meant being ‘willing and able to respond vigorously’. 

Massive retaliation generated doubts, The New York Times criticised Brinksmanship and it said that it was inflexible and it left the US with only one option

However, supporters claimed that massive retaliation prevented crisis. Eisenhower told his advisers to forget about using the atomic bomb. He maintained peace through the American nuclear arsenal and his military reputation. 

Sino-Soviets Alliance - Alliance between Communism China and Russia, during 1950 treaty

Domino Theory - President Eisenhower’s belief that if one country fell to Communism neighbouring countries would also fall soon after. 

Why And How Did Eisenhower End The Korean War?

  • Eisenhower flew to Korea and saw that the Communist were well established and concluded that the US should exit the stalemate - it was decided that both sides should stay on either side of the 38th parallel. 

Stalemate looks like Eisenhower has given up on the war, the US looks less aggressive and that brought a threat to foreign policy. 


After the Second World War, The Vietnamese nationalist and Communist Ho Chi Minh led the fight for independence against the French Colonialism. Seeing France as a bulwark against Communist expansionism in Asia and Europe, and anxious and not to ‘lose’ Vietnam, Truman had give over $2 billion to sustain the French war effort. Eisenhower continued Truman’s policy. In 1954, the French begged Eisenhower for an American air strike to help them in their battle against the communist at Dien Bien Phu. Nixon and Dulles both advocated supporting the French. 

Arguments For Military Intervention

  • They did not want to loose Vietnam to Communism and Truman had already spent $2 billion on Vietnam to support the war effort. 
  • Eisenhower considered a co-operative, strong, anti-communist France important to the Western Alliance. 
  • Did not want accusations that he lost ‘Vietnam’. 
  • Had advocated rollback in 1952 but had not ‘liberated’ a single soul of communism. 

Arguments Against Military Intervention 

  • Sending military into Vietnam would result in Russia then sending troops. 
  • US cannot just blow up Vietnam as Russia had the atomic bomb (1949) may result in WWIII. 
  • Some advisers doubted whether the loss of one small country would result in the loss of others. 
  • The ‘New-Look’ meant that fewer American troops were readily available. 
  • Eisenhower had had just gained




A great set of conclusive notes on the Eisenhower presidency.