American Public Policy in the Fifties: The Development of Dilemmas

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American Public Policy in the Fifties: The Development of Dilemmas

During the 1950s, Eisenhower simultaneously developed public policy through control of military commitments abroad; for the individual, the ironic combination of consumer freedom, repressive social structures, and civil rights expansion; a protectionist stance on the economy coupled with a cautionary rejection of increased domestic spending; and the suffocation of political dissent with the blanket of patriotism. The 1950s serves as a point of restrictive reference, justifying its significance for past and future public policy.

Irreversibly changing American foreign policy between 1948 and 1951, the American government escalated its size, scale, and scope abroad, building friendships but also making enemies, intending to defeat the spread of Stalinist Communism across Eastern Europe and Asia and defending democratized freedom and prosperity. Out of the World War II economic boom at home, the United States supplemented the struggling financial structure of postwar Europe with the 1948 Marshall Plan. In addition, United States policy introduced the American military as an international police power, sponsoring militarization in “forty-seven nations and led American forces to build or occupy 675 overseas bases and station and station a million troops overseas” (Johnson 443). President Harry S. Truman escorted the United States into the 1950s by involving them in the Korean War. Wishing to commit military forces, he bypassed the United Nations Security Council and the approval of Congress to engage in the conflict between North and South Korea. Elected on a peace platform in 1952, Dwight D. Eisenhower ended the Korean War by “breaking the armistice deadl...

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... for society inevitably adjusts; what solutions seemed to last, for all great visions eventually fade; and what worked once, for it may never work again.

Works Cited

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U.S. Department of Defense, The National Security Strategy of the United States of America. September 2002.

U.S. Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review. September 30, 2001.
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