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The China ThreatMemories, Myths, and Realities in the 1950s$
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Nancy Bernkopf Tucker

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231159241

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231159241.001.0001

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Eisenhower’s World

Eisenhower’s World

(p.7) 1 Eisenhower’s World
The China Threat

Nancy Bernkopf Tucker

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines Dwight D. Eisenhower's policy on foreign affairs during his tenure as president of the United States, especially his agenda regarding the fight against Communism. Eisenhower's views on international relations and his attitude toward Asia debunk the story that he threatened John F. Kennedy about opening diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. He never seriously considered challenging Mao Zedong's hold on power in China. Eisenhower gave precedence to Europe, and saw his most serious challenge as coming from the Soviet Union. His time on the battlefield in World War II had reinforced his conviction that America's critical disputes and opportunities would arise in Europe. The people he gathered around him—those with whom he argued and to whom he listened, both military and political—strongly agreed with that European bias. This was true of his personal circle and his key foreign policy adviser and executer John Foster Dulles.

Keywords:   foreign affairs, Dwight D. Eisenhower, United States, Communism, diplomatic relations, China, Mao Zedong, Europe, Soviet Union, foreign policy

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