The Foreign Policy of President Dwight Eisenhower During the Cold War

Topics: Foreign Policy

The development of the Cold War had an impact on every nation that was involved. The Cold War is the result of the high tensions that were built up between the United States and the Soviet Union during World War II. In a summary, the Cold War was the basis of ideas between the United States and the USSR. It was termed “cold” because both nats involved avoided provoking the high tensions that were already there between them. Being that both nations had just gotten out of World War II they avoided going to physical war with each other during the Cold War.

The Cold War lasted roughly from 1945 to 1963, within those years America went through a few presidents and o,f these presidents Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower was one of them.

Dwight Eisenhower began his term in 1953 and ended it in 1961. Some of his achievements include: managing Cold War-era tensions with the Soviet Union under the threat of nuclear weapons and ending the war in Korea in 1953, as well as authorizing several covert anti-communist operations by the CIA around the world.

Along with the strategies Eisenhower deployed while managing Cold WAR- era tensions he along with, at the time, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles established foreign policy in the US. This foreign policy was called New Look. Fundamentally the New Look policy entailed reducing the army from 1,500,000 men to 900,000. The navy did not get reduced by as big of a scale and more money was spent on the air force.

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Eisenhower was mostly concerned with avoiding a nuclear attack which caused him to promote expensive developments in nuclear weaponry and long-range missiles. According to Nevin Power, The Massive Retaliation [New Look] policy would then achieve two aims at once: it would help to reduce what Eisenhower saw as wasteful government expenditure while at the same time bringing about the dev developmof ent a comprehensive doctrine for the usage of atomic weapons. To go more in-depth President Eisenhower’s foreign policy techniques wanted to maintain the economy of the United States while still proceeding to be vigilant in the Cold War. To opioid war and keep the aggression from Commcommunistsbay, Ike relied on the development and use of nuclear weapons. Another technique he used to combat Soviet control was using the CIA to carry out secret actions against governments or leaders who directly or indirectly influenced the control of the Soviet Union. Along with all of Eisenhower’s developments against the USSR he also worked to make allies and friendships with governments that weren’t necessarily already “friends” with the US. He increased spending for the Air Force and nuclear weaponry in response to the tensions of the Cold War, the money for this increased spending came from the cuts he made from other parts of defense nse. Eisenhower never allowed spending for national security to fall below 50 percent of the federal budget (Miller Center of Public Affairs). His essential reason for the New Look foreign policy was to protect the United States from the possible nuclear threat during the heat of the Cold war against the Soviet Union.

In hindsight, the New Look foreign policy did not prove generally harmful to the United States at the time of the Cold War. It protected the US against the harmful threats of a nuclear war. While it might not be approved of by future presidents or citizens, Eisenhower used the best method he saw fit to protect the country he was left in charge of. Bering that Eisenhower never had to resultino war, his New Look policy was successful (Patrick J. Garrity). People like Yanek Mieczkowski believe that Eisenhower’s principled stands enabled him to resist intense pressure to boost federal spending, and he instead pursued his priorities of a balanced budget, prosperous economy, and sturdy national defense. However, those like Sputnik argue that Dwight Eisenhower was not prepared for the importance of space in the Cold War. While there are people who agree and say that President Eisenhower’s foreign policy techniques did prove successful there are some who beg to differ.

In Stephen Sestanovich’s “THE Long History Of Leading From Behind” he analyzes how the tactics deployed by Ike during the Cold War mimic and differ from those of other presidents. Sestanovich writes that: Eisenhower, accustomed to command, asserted his authority without any of Nixon and Kissinger’s extreme secrecy and intrigue while comparing the decisions made by Eisenhower to those made by Nixon and our current President, Barack Obama, similar to Hadhri; while recognizing that Obama had it more difficult than Eisenhower. He explains how Eisenhower did things in a crisp and orderly, which was not anything new tforpresidency in the US. SSestanovichalso elaborates on how Eisenhower made several proposals to the Soviet Union to finally put to rest the threat of a nuclear war, however t, the Soviet Union took heed to none, although Ike proceeded to remain persistent. According to this article, Eisenhower’s foreign policy wasn’t exactly successful.

While it did keep from a physical nuclear war the threat remained, though President Eisenhower’s efforts are acknowledged. In Robert McMahon’s “Eisenhower’s New-Look National Security Policy” Dockrill emphasizes that Eisenhower’s approach to helping calm the tensions of Cold Wthe ar went well beyond questions of nuclear and conventional defense posture. McMahon believes the New Look was a comprehensive strategy that was developed to combine “military, strategic, societal, economic, and foreign policy concerns into a broad concept of ‘security.’ “Dockrill argues that the key to understanding Eisenhower’s national security strategy is in the balance he always tried to maintain between domestic ic economy and adequate defense. His conscious, and persistent, efforts to hold down defense spending led to a greater reliance on nuclear weapons, increased dependence on allies, and more reckless use of coven and psychological instruments of influence. While McMahon’s article does not answer whether the foreign policy used by Eisenhower was successful, it does explain some of his reasoning behind its development.

It was generally believed that President Dwight Eisenhower’s foreign policy was in hindsight successful. Tensions were high in the Cold War during his terms as President and he responded accordingly. He did increase federal budget funding for nuclear weaponry and the Air Force while cutting spending for other aspects of defense but it was only to protect the country. Being that the Soviet Union did not attack the United States with nuclear weapons the foreign policy known as New Look can be deemed successful.

Work Cited

  1. McMahon, Robert J. “Eisenhower’s New-Look National Security Policy, 1953-61.” Journal of American History 84.1 (1997): 304. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 15 Oct. 2016.
  2. Mieczkowski, Yanek. Eisenhower’s Sputnik Moment: The Race For Space And World Prestige. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2013. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 15 Oct. 2016.
  3. SESTANOVICH, STEPHEN. “THE Long History Of Leading From Behind.” Atlantic 317.1 (2016): 94-107. Literary Reference Center. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.
  4. Hadhri, Mohieddine. “U.S. Foreign Policy Toward North Africa During The Cold War: From Eisenhower To Kennedy (1953–1963).” Journal Of The Middle East & Africa 5.2 (2014): 95 Academic Search Complete. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.
  5. Gunn, T. Jeremy, and Mounia Slighoua. “The Spiritual Factor: Eisenhower, Religion, And Foreign Policy.” Review Of Faith & International Affairs 9.4 (2011): 39-49. Academic Search Complete. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.
  6. Tama, Jordan. “From Private Consultation To Public Crusade: Assessing Eisenhower’s Legislative Strategies On Foreign Policy.” Congress & The Presidency 40.1 (2013): 41. Advanced Placement Source. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.
  7. Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. “Dwight D. Eisenhower: Foreign Affairs.” Accessed October 16, 2,016 Garrity, Patrick J. “A New Look at the New Look.” A New Look at the New Look. Miller
  8. Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. “Dwight D. Eisenhower: Foreign Affairs.” Accessed October 16, 2016

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The Foreign Policy of President Dwight Eisenhower During the Cold War. (2022, Jun 16). Retrieved from

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