In the 1950s, the Cold War turned into real war with the North Korean invasion of South Korea. This occurred just as the Truman Administration was considering recognizing the communist government in China. Essentially, the Korean War froze American relations with China for over 20 years and had an impact on American involvement in Indochina.
However, the United States was pursuing contradictory policies. Containment of Soviet and Chinese expansionism contrasted with the spirit of Geneva détente in 1955 and a brief thaw in the Cold War. The Cold War affected American foreign policy decisions in the Middle East during the Suez crisis and shaped the Eisenhower Doctrine and military intervention in Lebanon. These issues during the 1950s are covered in Crucible of Power. As you read the assigned materials and watch the videos, think about the contradictions in United States foreign policy in this period and why they occurred.
Starting with the fall of China and the Korean War, think about the major foreign policy issues and the American response. What do you think were the strengths and weaknesses of American foreign policy in the 1950s? How did the Korean War influence the Cold War?
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