World War II



-         Will German and Japanese power harm US interests?

-         US is reluctant to enter the war, but F. Roosevelt gets US involved in supporting Britain (e.g. Lend-Lease, fighting German submarine attacks)

- Unilateralist flirt with fascism  


Liberal Internationalism

- Atlantic Charter, 1941

- Informal United Nations, 1942

- United Nations, IMF, World Bank in 1944-1945     


What Tradition Covers World War II?

-         Is the US “containing” regional hegemons abroad?

-         US “under-extended” prior to 1942 (A. Stein)

-         US arms in mid-1930s but has no defensive commitments abroad (unilateralism)

-         LI as the “default” tradition?

-         Why such under-commitment?

-         Unilateralism & American System traditions dominate until after WWII

-         FDR attempts containment without alliance commitments

-         Dec. 1940: “Arsenal of Democracy” speech:

-         1941 lend-lease laws

-         US will arm others not fight itself


Containment and the Cold War


How to create international security when non-LI failed in the past

-         UN system offers a model
- torn by Cold War rivalry

-         Containment as Default?


Causes of the Cold War 


1) Orthodox: Soviet Union blamed primarily

2) Revisionist: US blamed primarily

3) Post-revisionist: Mutual interaction

Security dilemma plays a central role


    Berlin, Korea, and the Specter of the Garrison State

-         June 1948: Berlin Crisis

-         April 1949: NATO charter signed

-         June 1950: Korea War begins

-         US troop commitments to Europe increase

-         July 1953: Korean War ends


Nuclear Diplomacy

-         US has monopoly on nuclear weapons until 1949

-         US nuclear dominance waning across 1950s

-         Taiwan Crises in 1950s test US ‘resolve’

-         Berlin Crises (1958, 1960, 1961

-         Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962

-         Nuclear cooperation begins afterward


Rise of National Security State

- increased authority and power in executive branch

- National Security Council, Dept. of Defense, CIA

- large peacetime military establishment

- permanent overseas commitments