Throughout the twentieth century the United States of America has had many successes and failures in their foreign policy. Beginning in the late 1800 s with manifest destiny all the way through the cold war and communist containment through the late 1900 s the US had some pluses and some minuses in how they handled affairs abroad. After comparing the following information I have decided to give the foreign affairs of the United States a C+ in the Twentieth Century. At the end of the Nineteenth Century the theory of Manifest Destiny arose.
Manifest Destiny is the theory that the United States of America is a superior country to most others so, we have the God given right to expand our boarders throughout North America and beyond. Into the Twentieth Century many wars were fought over America s most controversial and hypocritical foreign policy. They used the excuses such as overpopulation, or America has to police the Western Hemisphere, to bring our boarders into the Pacific Ocean. America made sure that they totally dominated this hemisphere. At the end of the 1890 s America started a war against Spain in the Spanish colonies in the Philippines. They said that Spain was too weak to hold the colony (imperialism) and they wanted to set the colony free.
Yet after battles throughout the Philippines and Texas we had acquired territories in Guam, Philippines and Puerto Rico. Even though we had just fought for the independence of the Philippines, when given the chance America gobbled up these areas to satisfy our insatiable hunger for power and land. Starting with President Theodore Roosevelt, different philosophies concerning our imperialistic policing of our hemisphere were devised to help kee the rest of the world out of here. The Monroe Doctrine which gave the US international police powers and the Big Stick policy that said that the United States would speak softly but they would also enforce their decisions with a Big Stick. Under this philosophy the Panama Canal was constructed.
President Taft, the next president after Roosevelt had a different policy concerning foreign affairs, called Dollar Diplomacy. Here the substitution of dollars for bullets made this a seemingly better policy and also made America seem friendlier to foreign countries. After Taft foreign policy in America changed drastically. President Wilson was against imperialism and he tried to keep America more domestic minded rather than foreign dependant. When World War One began Wilson kept America out as long as possible but it was inevitable that we would have to join and end it. Even though we entered the war, we missed most of it and were only in for about a year and a half.
America had proved the deciding factor in the war so when America went to the Treaty of Versailles Wilson proposed his 14-point plan. The other vengeful European countries ignored the plan except for one point the League of Nations. Wilson returned home defeated and was dealt an even harder blow when America voted to not join the League of Nations. After World War One America seemed to have had enough of the rest of the world.
The following three presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover gave the US citizens exactly what they were looking for, isolation. The Roaring Twenties and the depression kept Americans occupied and they totally ignored the rest of the world. Maybe if the United States had paid more attention to what was happening in Europe, there would never have been a World War Two. This was an extreme weak point in our history of foreign affairs and definitely effected, how I overall felt about the United States foreign policies in the Twentieth Century. During World War Two however, the United States proved once again why they are a world power and they also helped themselves grade-wise in my opinion. Roosevelt actually kept us out of the war during the first part of it, yet managed to aid our allies through the Destroyer Deal and the Lend-Lease Act.
After Pearl Harbor was bombed America had to join the war. They dealt with Japan having to use Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki after all else failed. The atomic bombs were a controversial part of America s foreign affairs yet I believe it was the right choice because it ended the war abruptly and kept Americans safe and prevented deaths of American soldiers. What America did that was not good was the confining of Japanese-Americans to camps. Although this was internal it occurred because of our fear of the outside world. This was a very low point in America, betraying loyal American citizens because of past roots.
Following World War Two came the scariest time in world history when the world could have come to an abrupt end with the push of a few buttons. The Cold War occurred because America and Russia hated each other s governments and wanted to prevent their spread. Containment was the best approach to the battle against communism. Fighting limited war in Korea and Vietnam was necessary to prevent communist expansion, but if an all out offensive was taken then atomic weapons would most likely have been used. The Truman Doctrine which helped all free people who wanted help to stay free of those trying to take them over. In Turkey and Greece we gave aid to these countries which helped them stay free.
This was perfect for containment and was very helpful to America s grade. Finally the last important piece of the Cold War and America s foreign policy was the domino theory. It was proven that if one country fell to communism countries around it would too. This occurred after the fall of Vietnam with Cambodia and Laos. The Vietnam War although controversial was necessary for containment. But since the United States lost this brings down their grade.
Had we won the war maybe America s perception of Vietnam would be different. Through the Twentieth Century, the US had many ups and downs in foreign policy. With containment and the world wars the US was just and good. With imperialism and isolationism, America s greed showed. The goods and bad's pretty much balanced out making the United States foreign policy grade average.