Caribbean and Latin America, U.S. Military Involvement in the
As part of its expansionism, the United States government caused the Mexican War (1846–1848) and annexed the northern third of Mexico. In the middle of the nineteenth century, adventurers or “filibusters” like William Walker led privately armed groups into Nicaragua and other Central American and Caribbean countries with the hope of luring the United States government into annexing them. They were blocked, however, by local resistance as well as northern opposition to the expansion of the slave South before the Civil War.
For most of the nineteenth century, the United States viewed the newly independent Latin American countries as struggling underdeveloped nations. Projecting their own biases, North Americans believed that this economic underdevelopment was a result of what they considered to be racial inferiority, enervating tropical climate, and a restrictive Spanish cultural heritage in Latin America.
Although there were a few incidents that might have served as pretexts for war, such as the Chilean Crisis (1891) and the Venezuelan Crisis (1895), it was not until 1898 that the United States joined the European race for formal colonies. As a result of the Spanish‐American‐Cuban War (1898) and the Philippine War (1899–1902), the United States conquered and annexed the former Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. It also made Cuba a protectorate, administering it directly through U.S. military governors from 1898 to 1902.
It was not primarily through formal colonies, however, but through economic, cultural, and strategic influence backed up when deemed necessary by military force that the United States exercised its hegemony in the region. President Theodore Roosevelt encouraged and protected the Panamanian revolt against Colombia with a U.S. warship. With the construction of the Panama Canal (1904–14), the Caribbean and Central America came to be seen as vital to U.S. national security. The U.S. Army directly governed the U.S. Canal Zone. The goal of U.S. hegemony had been announced in the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine (1904), authorizing U.S. intervention ostensibly to prevent European intervention. The Panama Canal and Roosevelt's doctrine provided the reason and the rationale for the United States's “protectorate policy” toward the region. On nearly twenty occasions in the first three decades of the twentieth century, U.S. presidents sent troops into Caribbean and Central American countries, most often the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Mexico. Historians differ over whether the primary motive of Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson was to make the area safe for U.S. business, preclude European competition and intervention, or to maintain stability to protect U.S. strategic interests.
In the first half of the twentieth century, North Americans came to believe that economic underdevelopment in Latin America was less a result of indigenous factors than exploitative control of agriculture, mining, and transportation by European nations. This attitude and World War I helped North Americans replace Europeans as the major investors in the region. After the war, as the United States reduced its military role overseas, the Marines were withdrawn from the Caribbean basin, but they often left behind a U.S.‐trained national guard to help maintain order and governments favorable to the United States. In his Good Neighbor policy, announced in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt formally ended the “protectorate policy” and accepted the principle of nonintervention. His emphasis on mutual respect built on reciprocal trade agreements helped to build a healthy new relationship that produced hemispheric solidarity against Germany and Japan in World War II.
The United States leadership continued after World War II through new organizations. These included global institutions such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, and the United Nations. They also included strictly regional bodies and agreements, most importantly the Organization of American States (OAS) and the mutual defense agreement, the Inter‐American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (1947), which, like the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty (NATO), declared an attack against one to be an attack against all.
During the Cold War, from 1947 until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, U.S. national security policy toward Latin America was directed against the spread of communism. At the Caracas meeting in 1954, a majority of the OAS foreign ministers supported a U.S. res olu‐tion declaring communism incompatible with the inter‐American system. President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized a covert action program run by the Central Intelligence Agency, which later that year overthrew the leftist, Guatemalan democratic regime of President Jacobo Arbenz, whose land reform had threatened the United Fruit Company and who was believed to be closely associated with communists. With the support of Eisenhower and his successor, President John F. Kennedy, the CIA developed a plan to overthrow Fidel Castro, who had led a successful takeover in Cuba in 1959 and had then launched a sweeping socialist revolution under his own rule with increasingly close ties with the Soviet Union. The CIA‐sponsored invasion by Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs in 1961 proved a disastrous failure.
As a result of the Soviet‐Cuban threat of expanding communism in the Western Hemisphere, the United States developed major economic and security measures. The Alliance for Progress was designed to promote economic development and democracy (the “modernization” theory that undergirded it was, however, criticized by many Latin Americans as controlled “dependency”). Although it stimulated some economic development, it did not promote either democracy or social reform. The United States also engaged in increased anti‐communist military activities.
In the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962–63), triggered by the Soviet introduction of nuclear weapons to the island, Kennedy imposed a successful naval blockade of Cuba, and the missiles were withdrawn in exchange for a U.S. pledge not to invade. Although ending the blockade, the United States continued to use some covert means but primarily economic embargos to undermine Castro, who, nevertheless, continued to rule one of the few remaining communist nations at the end of the century.
During the Cold War, fear of communism had led to considerable U.S. military involvement in the region. In part this involved the training of Latin American military officers in counterinsurgency techniques at schools on U.S. Army installations in the Panama Canal Zone and in the United States. Sometimes it involved direct use of U.S. forces, as in 1966, when President Lyndon B. Johnson sent troops into the Dominican Republic, fearing, inaccurately most scholars agree, that instability there might lead to a communist takeover. Sometimes it was CIA activity rather than direct U.S. military involvement, as in 1973, when President Richard M. Nixon authorized covert operations to help topple the Marxist president of Chile, Salvador Allende Gossens, who was overthrown by Gen. Augusto Pinochet in a bloody coup. Emphasizing human rights, President Jimmy Carter reduced aid to authoritarian governments such as those in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile and refused to use military force to defend the Somoza regime in Nicaragua against leftist rebels. Following Panamanian riots, Carter also negotiated the treaties (1978) transferring control of the U.S.‐built and ‐defended canal to Panama in 2000.
In 1979–80, leftist revolutions in Nicaragua, Grenada, and El Salvador raised the possibility of expanded communist influence and led to increased U.S. military involvement. President Ronald Reagan built up the U.S. armed forces and often threatened force, but although he provided Army advisers and military and economic assistance to hard‐line, anti‐communists in Nicaragua and El Salvador, he sent troops into battle in the region only once, in the liberation of the island of Grenada in 1983 following a left‐wing coup there.
The end of the Cold War enabled President George Bush to depoliticize the North American perceptions of threats to U.S. security in Nicaragua and El Salvador and to join with other nations in negotiating peace and free elections there. He and his successor President Bill Clinton reduced Latin American debt and encouraged trade liberalization through the creation of a North American Free Trade Agreement (1993) among the United States, Canada, and Mexico. However, direct U.S. military force was used by Bush in 1989 to capture Panamanian strongman General Manuel Noriega, who was connected with Colombian drug traffickers. In 1994, Clinton dispatched U.S. troops to overthrow the military junta which had overthrown the president of Haiti, but a last‐minute settlement led U.S. forces to arrive as transition peacekeepers rather than an invading force.
At the end of the twentieth century, although the U.S. provided aid against leftist guerrillas in Colombia, the main involvement of the U.S. military in Caribbean and Latin American countries focused on a relatively new role for the armed forces: trying to prevent the flow of illegal drugs into the United States. This mission was performed directly through the protection of U.S. borders and approaching air corridors and indirectly through the provision of U.S. equipment and military advisers to countries believed to be sources or transit routes for illegal drugs bound for the United States.
[See also Cuba: U.S. Military Involvement in; Cuban Missile Crisis (1962–1963); El Salvador, U.S. Military Involvement in; Grenada, U.S. Military Involvement in; Haiti, U.S. Military Involvement in; Iran‐Contra Affair (1986); Mexican Revolution, U.S. Military Involvement in the; Nicaragua, U.S. Military Involvement in; Panama, U.S. Military Involvement in.]
J. Child , Unequal Balance: The Inter‐American Military System, 1938–1978, 1980;
Cole Blasier , The Hovering Giant: U.S. Responses to Revolutionary Change in Latin America, 1910–1985, 1985;
David Healy , Drive to Hegemony: The United States in the Caribbean, 1898–1917, 1988;
Robert A. Pastor , Whirlpool: U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Latin America and the Caribbean, 1992;
Walter LaFeber , Inevitable Revolutions, 2nd ed., 1993;
John A. Britton , Revolution and Ideology: Images of the Mexican Revolution in the United States, 1995; and James William Park , Latin American Underdevelopment: A History of Perspectives in the United States, 1870–1965, 1995.
John Whiteclay Chambers II
"Caribbean and Latin America, U.S. Military Involvement in the." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.
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Middle East, U.S. Military Involvement in the
America's sustained military involvement in the Middle East, however, dates from the late 1940s, a time of growing Cold War rivalry with the Kremlin, deepening Western dependence on Persian Gulf oil, and mounting tensions between Arabs and Israelis. After an impromptu naval show of force helped reduce Soviet diplomatic pressure on Turkey in 1946, the Truman administration projected American power into the eastern Mediterranean on a permanent basis by establishing the U.S. Sixth Fleet, based in Naples. Some in Washington worried that the partition of Palestine in November 1947 and U.S. recognition of the state of Israel six months later might necessitate armed intervention to prevent Soviet meddling and to protect the Jewish state.
By early 1949, however, the Israelis had won a stunning victory, and the United States spent the next two decades seeking to preserve a fragile military balance between Israel and its Arab neighbors. To this end, the Truman administration took the lead in drafting the Tripartite Declaration of May 1950, which placed strict limits on the flow of American, British, and French arms into the Middle East. And when the Israelis, supported by British and French, attacked Egypt during the 1956 Suez Crisis, the Eisenhower administration used diplomatic and economic leverage to force them to withdraw. After the Arabs began to receive large amounts of Soviet arms during the late 1950s, America moved to ensure Israeli security by providing Tel Aviv with recoilless rifles in 1958, antiaircraft missiles in 1962, battle tanks in 1965, and jet fighters in 1966.
In May 1967, Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser closed the Strait of Tiran at the mouth of the Gulf of Agaba to Israeli shipping and expelled United Nations peacekeeping forces from the Sinai Desert, moves that Israel regarded as acts of war. The Johnson administration hoped to ease tensions and prevent the outbreak of hostilities by attempting to organize a multinational naval force to patrol the disputed waters. On 5 June 1967, however, Israel in a preemptive strike attacked Egypt and Jordan, which had allied itself with the Nasser regime, and occupied the Sinai and the West Bank. Five days later, Israel invaded Syria and seized the Golan Heights. When Moscow threatened to intervene during the final hours of the Six‐Day War to prevent the defeat of its Arab clients, Washington sent the U.S. Sixth Fleet into the eastern Mediterranean to discourage Soviet adventurism.
Anwar Sadat, who had become president of Egypt after Nasser's death in September 1970, and Syria's Hafaz al Assad decided to use force to recapture the territory lost to Israel in 1967. In October 1973, they launched a surprise attack on Israel during the Yom Kippur holiday. In the first days of the fighting, Egyptian troops recaptured part of the Sinai, and Syrian tanks nearly overran Israeli positions in the Golan Heights. The tide began to turn rapidly in Israel's favor, however, as the Nixon administration agreed to airlift badly needed war material to Tel Aviv. With the Israeli troops within striking distance of Cairo and Damascus, the Soviet Union, as it had done six years earlier, threatened to intervene militarily. After deterring the Kremlin by briefly placing U.S. strategic forces at the highest level of readiness, the White House brokered a cease‐fire in late October and Henry Kissinger undertook a lengthy process of shuttle diplomacy that brought about military disengagement between Israel and Egypt in 1974 and between Israel and Syria a year later. As part of the September 1978 Camp David Accords that led to the signing of a comprehensive Egyptian‐Israeli peace treaty in March 1979, the United States agreed to station several hundred U.S. troops in the Sinai Desert, where they served as peacekeepers throughout the 1980s.
Although the United States managed for the most part to avoid becoming militarily involved in the Arab‐Israeli conflict during the half century after World War II, persistent political instability in the Muslim world triggered armed American intervention in the Middle East with increasing frequency after the late 1950s. On 15 July 1958, Dwight D. Eisenhower dispatched 15,000 American Marines to Lebanon following a bloody left‐wing coup d’état in Iraq that threatened Lebanese president Camille Chamoun and raised fears in Washington that events in Beirut were about to parallel those in Baghdad. During their four‐month tour of duty in Lebanon, U.S. troops helped restore order, enabling American diplomats to arrange a truce between warring Christian and Muslim factions. The Marines pulled out of Beirut on 25 October 1958 without having suffered any casualties.
During the mid‐1960s, the United States intervened briefly in Saudi Arabia, where the Pentagon had obtained rights to a small air base at Dhahran at the end of World War II. In October 1962, radical Arab nationalists staged a coup against the house of Saud's royalist neighbors next door in Yemen, prompting Nasser to send 70,000 troops to assist the Yemeni revolutionaries. Eager to reassure the jittery Saudis, who feared that Egypt would use Yemen as a springboard for further adventures in the Arabian peninsula, John F. Kennedy agreed in March 1963 to station a squadron of U.S. jet fighters in Dhahran. There they played a high‐altitude game of “cat and mouse” with Egyptians MiGs along the Saudi‐Yemeni frontier until Lyndon B. Johnson terminated “Operation Hard Surface” in early 1964.
American military involvement in the Middle East increased during the 1970s following a series of sudden shifts in the regional balance of power. In 1971, Great Britain pulled its armed forces out of the Persian Gulf. In early 1979, Islamic revolutionaries inspired by the Ayatollah Rouhallah Khomeini toppled the shah of Iran, then took fifty‐three U.S. diplomats hostage in November. One month later, Russian troops invaded Afghanistan to prop up the pro‐Soviet government in Kabul.
President Jimmy Carter responded by promulgating the Carter Doctrine in January 1980, promising to protect American interests in the Persian Gulf. He moved quickly to acquire a string of strategic bases stretching from Kenya to Diego Garcia, and announced plans for a new “rapid deployment force” of 85,000 U.S. troops. In April 1980, however, a U.S. military attempt to free the Americans held hostage in Iran failed spectacularly when two American helicopters collided at a secret desert airstrip just outside Teheran, killing eight crewmen.
Although the hostages were released at the outset of his presidency, Carter's successor, Ronald Reagan, fared little better. Determined to combat state‐sponsored terrorism in the Middle East, the Reagan administration did succeed in reining in Libya's Muamar Gaddafi by staging two U.S. air raids against Libyan targets, first in August 1981 and again in April 1986. But when Reagan agreed to send 800 American troops to Beirut as part of a multinational peacekeeping force in the aftermath of Israel's invasion of Lebanon in June 1982, disaster ensued. In October 1983, Iranian‐backed terrorists detonated a huge truck bomb at the Beirut airport housing the Manne ground‐force headquarters, killing 241 U.S. Marines. Four years later, there was more trouble after the Reagan administration moved to contain the Iran‐Iraq War, which had been raging since September 1980. Hoping to prevent the conflict from disrupting the flow of Middle East oil to Western consumers, Washington reflagged Kuwaiti tankers in early 1987 and then sent the U.S. Navy into the Persian Gulf to escort them through the war zone. In April, an Iraqi jet hit an American frigate, the USS Stark, with an Exocet missile, killing thirty‐seven sailors. Fifteen months later, in July 1988, an American guided missile cruiser, the USS Vincennes, accidentally downed an Iranian airbus, killing all 290 aboard.
The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990 triggered a dramatic escalation of the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf. Fearful that Saddam Hussein might attack Saudi Arabia next, President George Bush sent 200,000 American troops to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Desert Shield in late August. Determined to force Saddam to pull out of Kuwait, Bush increased the number of U.S. soldiers and sailors in the gulf to 541,000 by the end of the year and put together a broad anti‐Iraqi military coalition that included America's NATO allies and several Arab states, among them Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. On 16 January 1991, Bush unleashed Operation Desert Storm, which saw a monthlong U.S. aerial bombardment of Iraq followed by a swift flanking attack on Saddam's troops, who fled Kuwait in disarray in late February. American casualties during the Persian Gulf War totaled 146 dead, while estimates for Iraqi troops killed in action range from as few as 6,000 to as many as 100,000. In the aftermath of Operation Desert Storm, the United States stationed 24,000 troops and 26 warships in the Persian Gulf on a long‐term basis to ensure continued access to Middle East oil and to promote regional security and stability—objectives first articulated by the Truman administration a half century earlier. In 1998–99, Saddam Hussein hampered UN weapons inspectors and challenged U.S. air surveillance. Consequently, President Bill Clinton in Operation Desert Fox increased American military presence in the Persian Gulf to 33,000 service people and American and British aircraft began sporadic air attacks on Iraqi military targets. In October 1998, President Clinton brokered the so‐called Wye Accord between the Palestinians and the Israelis in which the Palestinians received more land on the West Bank and security control over it and in turn accepted monitoring by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to ensure active efforts to control terrorists.
This entry is being updated.
[See also Cold War: Causes; Eisenhower Doctrine; Lebanon, U.S. Military Involvement in; Lebanon Crisis; Navy, U.S.: Since 1946; Terrorism and Counterterrorism.]
Seth P. Tillman , The United States in the Middle East: Interests and Obstacles, 1982.
L. Carl Brown , International Politics and the Middle East: Old Rules, Dangerous Game, 1984.
Wm. Roger Louis , The British Empire in the Middle East 1945–1951: Arab Nationalism, the United States, and Postwar Imperialism, 1984.
David Painter , Oil and the American Century: The Political Economy of U.S. Foreign Oil Policy, 1941–1954, 1986.
James A. Bill , The Eagle and the Lion: The Tragedy of American‐Iranian Relations, 1988.
Lawrence Freedman and and Efraim Karsh , The Gulf Conflict, 1990–91: Diplomacy and War in the New World Order, 1993.
William Quandt , Peace Process: American Diplomacy and the Arab‐Israeli Conflict since 1967, 1993.
David Schoenbaum , The United States and the State of Israel, 1993.
Burton Kaufman , The Arab Middle East and the United States: Inter‐Arab Rivalry and Superpower Diplomacy, 1995.
"Middle East, U.S. Military Involvement in the." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/middle-east-us-military-involvement
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Russia, U.S. Military Intervention in, 1917–20
The American loans and pro‐war propaganda did not prevent the Bolsheviks from seizing power in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg) in November 1917. Five weeks later, on 12 December 1917, President Wilson and Secretary of State Robert Lansing authorized covert financial support for anti‐Bolshevik forces then gathering in southern Russia. American leaders hoped the Cossacks and Russian officers would be able to block German access to Russian resources and would serve as a nucleus from which a democratic Russia could be regenerated.
While Wilson was willing to provide money and moral encouragement to anti‐Bolshevik groups, in the first half of 1918 he repeatedly declined British and French proposals for direct military intervention in Russia. Wilson and his top advisers feared that Allied intervention, particularly by Japanese soldiers, would cause Russians to rally around the Soviet government and seek protection from Germany. American leaders also believed that the war was going to be won on the western front, that diverting forces from France would be unwise, that Allied proposals to recreate an eastern front were impractical, and that condoning or participating in expeditions to Russia would undermine American popular support for the war.
After the Bolsheviks ratified the Treaty of Brest‐Litovsk with the Central Powers and Germany launched a new western offensive in March 1918, Allied leaders intensified their pressure for military intervention in Russia. In the United States, Congress and the American people grew more favorable to action that might keep German forces in the east. At the same time, anti‐Bolshevik leaders outside Russia issued numerous appeals for the liberation of their country from Bolshevik and German domination.
By the end of May, Wilson agreed to contribute American soldiers to an Allied expedition to northern Russia, and in early July he consented to Allied requests for an American expedition to Siberia. On 17 July 1918, Wilson issued an aide‐mémoire that explained to Allied leaders that he remained opposed to military intervention directed at the unrealistic objective of restoring an eastern front. American forces, he declared, could only be used to guard military stockpiles at Archangel and Vladivostok, to assist pro‐Allied Czechoslovakian soldiers who had come into conflict with Red forces along the Trans‐Siberian Railway, and to aid patriotic Russians who were attempting to organize armies and regain control of their affairs.
Despite Wilson's strictures, American forces became involved in fighting Bolsheviks. In early August, shortly after anti‐Bolshevik forces overthrew the local Soviet government at Archangel, the USS Olympia sailed into the port and deployed fifty bluejackets, twenty‐five of whom immediately joined Allied soldiers in chasing Bolsheviks retreating to the south. On 4 September, the 4,500 men of the 339th Infantry Regiment arrived at Archangel. While Lt. Col. George E. Stewart lacked clear instructions about the deployment of his command, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, David R. Francis, authorized the assignment of American soldiers to the front lines along the Dvina River and the Archangel‐Moscow railway. In the following months, the American North Russian Expeditionary Force suffered more than 500 total casualties, including 100 killed in combat with numerically superior Red Army units. The Wilson administration's failure to provide a convincing explanation for why American troops remained in northern Russia after fighting against Germany ceased in November 1918 exacerbated declining troop morale among the Americans and provoked demands by their relatives for the return of the expedition. In February 1919, facing persistent criticism from Republican senator Hiram Johnson of California and many other members of Congress, President Wilson ordered the withdrawal of the expeditionary force, which was carried out in June 1919.
Though the Archangel expedition involved “doughboys” from the Great Lakes region, most of the American soldiers dispatched to Siberia were from the West Coast. In August 1918, the 27th and 31st Infantry Regiments sailed from the Philippines to Vladivostok. On 1 September, they were joined by 5,000 men from the Eighth Division. Although some American diplomats and officers hoped to provide active military assistance to anti‐Bolshevik armies, Gen. William S. Graves, commander of the Siberian expedition, followed a strict interpretation of President Wilson's aide‐mémoire and tried to keep American forces largely neutral in the civil war. In patrolling the railway between Vladivostok and Lake Baikal, however, American soldiers safeguarded the route over which American and Allied supplies were shipped to anti‐Bolshevik armies under Adm. Alexander Kolchak in western Siberia. Consequently, American forces clashed both with Red partisans who attacked the railroad and with Cossacks who contested Kolchak's authority in eastern Siberia.
As in the case of the Archangel expedition, the Wilson administration faced demands to bring American soldiers home. Yet Wilson and his advisers had committed themselves to supporting Kolchak, and they worried that withdrawing the American expedition while 70,000 Japanese soldiers remained in eastern Siberia would lead to the establishment of an exclusive Japanese sphere of influence. American officials decided to evacuate the U.S. forces only after the Red Army drove Kolchak's troops eastward across Siberia in the fall of 1919. American soldiers completed their departure from Vladivostok in April 1920.
The limited American interventions in Russia failed to sustain democracy, protect American loans and investments, revive Russian military resistance to Germany, or prevent the Red victory in the Russian civil war of 1917 to 1920. While aid to anti‐Bolshevik armies and an economic blockade of Soviet Russia did not eliminate the menace of Bolshevism, they aggravated Bolshevik suspicions of the West and provided Soviet leaders with major themes for anti‐American propaganda over seven decades. Wilsonian policy toward Russia also had lasting repercussions in the United States, where senators like Hiram Johnson and many other progressives and socialists viewed the “secret” interventions as dangerous precedents of presidential usurpation of war powers and ominous signs that membership in the League of Nations would entail further interventions around the world to suppress revolutionary change.
Intervention in Russia has been a subject of enduring controversy among American historians. “Orthodox” or traditional scholars have tended to portray the military expeditions to northern Russian and Siberia as reluctant aberrations in Wilsonian foreign policy caused by the exigencies of waging war against Germany. “Revisionist” or “New Left” historians, on the other hand, have tended to view the expeditions as parts of a wider effort to contain the ideological threat of Bolshevism and overthrow the Soviet government.
[See also Russia, U.S. Military Involvement in, 1921–95; World War I: Military and Diplomatic Course.]
George F. Kennan , Soviet‐American Relations, 1917–1920, 2 vols: Russia Leaves the War, 1956, and The Decision to Intervene, 1958.
N. Gordon Levin, Jr. , Woodrow Wilson and World Politics: America's Response to War and Revolution, 1968.
Lloyd C. Gardner , Safe for Democracy: The Anglo‐American Response to Revolution, 1913–1923, 1984.
Benjamin D. Rhodes , The Anglo‐American Winter War with Russia, 1988.
Betty M. Unterberger , The United States, Revolutionary Russia, and the Rise of Czechoslovakia, 1989.
David S. Foglesong , America's Secret War Against Bolshevism: United States Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1917–1920, 1995.
David S. Foglesong
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Cuba, U.S. Military Involvement in.
Reflecting upon their defeat in the Ten Year War (1868–78), the Cuban political elite swore that the next rebellion against Spain would draw the United States into the war. Their failure to incite American military intervention had doomed their struggle for independence. Through media manipulation and careful political cultivation, Cuban rebels created popular support in the United States when they again “took to the field” in 1895. In the presidential campaign of 1896, all three major parties (Republican, Democratic, and Populist) called for Cuban independence, by force of arms if necessary. Stung by Spanish intransigence, atrocities, and the sinking of the USS Maine by an unexplained explosion in Havana Harbor, the Congress pressured President McKinley to lead the nation into the Spanish–American War in April 1898. The goal was to free Cuba from Spain.
Rejecting one scheme to invest Havana, the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy agreed to blockade Cuba to turn back reinforcements, defeat any Spanish naval forces in the Caribbean, and join the Cuban rebel army in eastern Cuba and defeat the Spanish garrisons in detail. Two American expeditionary forces went to Oriente Province. A Marine battalion of 650 seized a fleet operating base at Guantanamo Bay. The army's Fifth Corps then landed to the west at Daiquiri and, 17,000 strong in regulars of the U.S. Army and wartime volunteers, marched toward Santiago to besiege the city and capture the Spanish naval squadron in refuge there. The advance guard fought Spanish outposts at Las Guasimas, and the whole force made a spirited if awkward twin assault on the Spanish fortifications at Kettle and San Juan Hills and El Caney. Despite 1,400 casualties, the Americans in the Battle of Santiago forced the Spanish to surrender on 17 July, two weeks after an American squadron destroyed the Spanish squadron in its desperate flight. A general capitulation and peace negotiations soon followed.
Although the United States rejected annexation and agreed to limit its own economic penetration, it occupied Cuba until May 1902, and the ultimate agreement to withdraw contained a provision (the Platt Amendment) that the United States reserved the right of future intervention in order to preserve republican government in Cuba and prevent European interference. Cuba also agreed to continue the social, economic, and educational reforms begun by the American military.
To keep internal peace, the United States formed the Guardia Rural (a national police), but no army. The first Cuban president, Tomás Estrada Palma, tried to rig his own reelection in 1906, and his opponents started a mild guerrilla war. President Theodore Roosevelt refused to send troops to reinforce the ineffective Cuban constabulary, but agreed to assume temporary control of the government until a second election produced a new government. An expeditionary force of 5,000 soldiers and 1,000 Marines occupied Cuba without incident, remaining until 1909.
The Second Intervention of 1906–09, however, produced enough frustration for the United States that subsequent administrations chose to back the incumbent Cuban regime rather than adjudicate revolts. U.S. troops generally replaced Cubans around economic targets, not just to protect foreign property but to prevent the rebels from using destruction to spark wider war and deeper intervention. A Marine brigade of 800 helped the Cuban Army suppress electoral revolts in 1912 and 1917. Marine detachments aboard navy warships provided small landing parties for short‐term security duties. In most instances, the rebels avoided Marine outposts while the Marine companies did not seek out the enemy. The last security force departed in 1922.
The next threatened use of U.S. military occupation in 1933–34 had a major influence on Cuban politics, for President Franklin D. Roosevelt wanted the oppressive regime of Gerardo Machado overthrown (which happened) and a legitimate, moderate, democratic regime to replace him (which it did not). Dismayed by the radical reformism of President Ramón Grau San Martín, the State Department negotiated an end to the Platt Amendment and signaled its willingness to accept a substitute regime. The result was a wave of military coups that produced a military‐dominated authoritarian government headed by a former sergeant, Fulgencio Batista. Fearing Axis and Communist influence in the Caribbean and Mexico, the United States did not challenge either Batista's indirect rule (1934–59) or actual term as president (1940–44), nor his coup of 1952.
The Communist‐led revolution of 1957–59 made Cuba a serious political and strategic problem for the United States for the first time in history. Alarmed by a U.S.‐sponsored invasion by 1,300 Cuban exiles on 17–19 April 1961, President Fidel Castro turned to the Soviet Union for massive military assistance. Even though he overwhelmed Brigade 2506 at the Bahia de los Cochinos (Bay of Pigs) with 20,000 militiamen in one day's battle, Castro saw the continuing danger of invasion and insurrection. He allowed the Russians to use Cuba as a naval base, intelligence platform, and nuclear missile base. Castro welcomed a Russian Army combined arms task force of 40,000 to Cuba in 1962. Acutely aware that a navy‐Marine task force had been minutes away from supporting the Cuban exile brigade, Castro even allowed the Russians to build launch sites for eighty‐some offensive nuclear missiles, surrounded by antiaircraft missiles. In the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev both retreated, but not before the Navy blockaded the island and 400,000 American servicemen deployed for an invasion of Cuba. This expeditionary force would have faced a Cuban army of over 100,000 and the 40,000 Russians armed with tactical nuclear weapons.
Since 1962, the United States has not put significant military pressure on Cuba, even after the collapse of Russian support after 1989; but it deployed special operations forces and paramilitary covert action teams to counter Cuban revolutionary campaigns in Angola, Haiti, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. Paramilitary Cuban exile groups still conduct occasional raids and sabotage against the island itself. No Cuba‐watcher would predict that U.S. military intervention has become only a historical phenomenon.
[See also Caribbean and Latin America, U.S. Military Involvement in the.]
Lester Langley , The Cuban Policy of the United States, 1968.
Hugh Thomas , Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom, 1971.
Louis A. Pérez, Jr. , Army Politics in Cuba, 1898–1958, 1976.
Lester Langley , The Banana Wars: An Inner History of American Empire, 1900–1934, 1983.
Allan R. Millett and and Peter Maslowski , For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States of America, rev. ed. 1994.
Allan R. Millett
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Iran, U.S. Military Involvement in
Immediately after the war ended, the United States dismantled the PGC. President Harry S. Truman, at State Department urging, exempted the advisory missions from his order to remove all American troops.
The American military played no significant role during the Soviet‐American crisis over Iran between November 1945 and April 1946. The Joint Chiefs of Staff did warn that in any armed conflict, logistical difficulties prevented an effective military response. They later supported a National Security Council finding that Iran had become “a major strategic interest to the United States.” The region's oil was vital to postwar energy policy. Iran also shared with the Soviet Union a 1,300‐mile border and blocked the traditional Russian aspiration for a warm‐water gulf port. Both factors created long‐term American concern with Iran's stability and independence.
Over the next two decades the Department of Defense (DoD) resisted the Shah's requests for help in building Iran's military forces. Military advisers remained until the 1979 revolution, organized after 1950 as ARMISH‐MAAG and GENMISH. They supported the American policy to contain Soviet ambitions in Iran, but played no significant role in the Central Intelligence Agency operation that overthrew Mohammed Mossadeq in 1953. The Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations both stressed economic development and social reform rather than military strength as the key to Iran's future security. In case of conflict, the Pentagon planned to use American forces to stop the Russians. The primary threat in the late 1950s came from Soviet arms shipments to Iraq. In 1964, the United States extracted a Status of Forces Agreement that exempted American military advisers from Iranian law. As a reward, the Shah received $200 million in loans and credits to buy arms. That agreement angered conservative Islamic opponents of the Shah, especially Ayatollah Rouhallah Khomeini.
By 1970, some 778 Defense personnel were in Iran. In May 1972, over Defense objections, President Richard M. Nixon and NSC adviser Henry Kissinger granted the Shah unlimited access to the most advanced American weapons, including F‐14 and F‐15 aircraft. In 1972–77, American arms sales totaled $16.2 billion as Iran's defense budget rose 680 percent. Nixon and Kissinger justified this policy under the Nixon Doctrine, which shifted the burden of regional defense to key allies. The buildup brought 30,000 Americans to Iran and increased the nationalist resentment of the Shah, ultimately triggering the revolution of 1978. On 24 April 1980, the military launched Operation Eagle Claw, a disastrous mission to rescue fifty‐two Americans held hostage by Iranian militants. Eight helicopters from the carrier Nimitz flew 600 miles to a site called Desert One to rendezvous with C‐130 transport planes. A combination of bad weather and mechanical failure aborted the mission, leaving eight American Marines dead.
In response to Iran's revolution, President Jimmy Carter on 23 January 1980 enunciated the Carter Doctrine: the United States would use military force if necessary to defend its “vital interests” in the Persian Gulf region. A major buildup of American naval forces and the development of the Rapid Deployment force and CENTCOM, its command structure, continued under Ronald Reagan. After the outbreak of the Iran‐Iraq War in September 1980, both sides attacked tankers and oil facilities critical to the West.
In 1986, Iran focused its attack on Kuwait and Kuwaiti‐bound ships in the gulf. American policy by then had tilted toward an Iraqi victory. The Iran‐Contra Affair of 1986 confused the issue as the Reagan administration, which publicly condemned Iran, privately shipped arms to Teheran. To protect the flow of oil from Iranian attacks, the U.S. Navy began to escort American and “reflagged” Kuwaiti tankers. In May 1987, an Iraqi Mirage F‐1 fighter in error fired two Exocet missiles that killed thirty‐seven sailors aboard the American destroyer USS Stark.
By late 1987, the United States had some thirteen naval ships in the gulf, supported by another twelve to fifteen in the Gulf of Oman and a substantial allied force. American forces several times attacked small Irani ships. Iranian‐laid naval mines posed the gravest threat to gulf shipping. On 18 April 1988, in retaliation for a mine attack on the frigate Samuel B. Roberts, the navy fought its largest surface action since World War II. Operation Praying Mantis destroyed two armed oil platforms, a frigate, a fast attack craft, and two armed speed boats. As a war‐weary Iran moved toward peace, the cruiser Vincennes on 3 July 1988 mistakenly shot down a civilian Iranian airliner with the loss of 290 lives.
After the Iran‐Iraq War ended in July 1988, overt hostility between the United States and Iran ceased. Iran remained neutral during the Persian Gulf War in 1991 and figured prominently only when over 100 Iraqi fighter planes fled there to avoid destruction from Operation Desert Storm. Friction with the United States persisted through 1995, primarily from Iran's support for international terrorism and its program to build nuclear weapons. Friction with the United States persisted into 1999, but the rise of more moderate leaders and Iran's continuing role as a counter‐weight to Saddam Hussein in Iraq gave hints that tensions might ease.
[See also Middle East, U.S. Military Involvement in the.]
Ervand Abrahamian , Iran: Between Two Revolutions, 1982.
Mark H. Lytle , The Origins of the Iranian‐American Alliance, 1941–1953, 1987.
James Bill , The Eagle and the Lion: The Tragedy of American‐Iranian Relations, 1988.
Dilip Hiro , Desert Storm to Desert Shield: The Second Gulf War, 1992.
Michael A. Palmer , Guardians of the Gulf: A History of America's Expanding Role in the Persian Gulf, 1833–1992, 1992.
Mark H. Lytle
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Germany, U.S. Military Involvement in
When World War I broke out in 1914, Americans were divided, and President Woodrow Wilson declared neutrality. Though the United States remained legally neutral until 1917, its trade and financial support with the Allies grew dramatically. Eventually, Berlin's decision for unrestricted submarine warfare brought the United States into the war in April 1917 to prevent German hegemony and to establish a stable world order. The arrival of masses of fresh American troops in 1918 helped halt the German's spring offensive and fuel the Allies’ counteroffensive, which led German military commanders to ask Berlin to obtain an armistice. Wilson refused to deal with the monarchy and a republic was established before the armistice was concluded 11 November 1918. U.S. troops participated in the temporary occupation of the Rhineland, 1918–23.
Although Wilson wanted some leniency for Germany because he supported the new Weimar Republic and because he feared Communist expansion from Eastern to Central Europe, the Allies imposed harsh terms in the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Weimar had to accept them, but it then sought American help in the 1920s to ameliorate them. The U.S. Senate rejected the treaty because of provisions for the League of Nations, but made a separate peace with Germany. Politically isolationist in the 1920s, the United States aided Weimar economically by giving it most‐favored‐nation status and reducing its reparations payments, especially through the Dawes Plan of 1924; and American investments helped to stimulate the German economy, but this ended with the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.
The end of the Weimar Republic and the establishment of Adolf Hitler's Nazi dictatorship in 1933 rekindled American concern about the geostrategic and moral threat posed by an aggressively expansionist, antidemocratic Germany, Hitler's Third Reich (Third Empire). Nevertheless, antiwar sentiment led an isolationist Congress to adopt legislation emphasizing U.S. neutrality in 1935, 1936, and 1937.
After the outbreak of World War II in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt followed an anti‐German course. The United States became the “great arsenal of democracy,” supplying the Allies, occupying Greenland and Iceland, and patrolling the North Atlantic, even engaging in actions with German submarines. On 11 December 1941, four days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hitler declared war on the United States. Unlike World War I, the United States fully joined the Allies against Germany and gradually took the lead in directing Western military operations. To avoid a resurgent militarized Germany and to reassure the Soviet Union, which bore the brunt of the land war, the Allies insisted on unconditional surrender. Roosevelt considered postwar dismemberment and deindustrialization of Germany (the Morgenthau Plan of 1944), but abandoned the idea as creating a power vacuum in Central Europe.
After the Battle for Germany and Berlin's surrender in May 1945, Allied policies included occupation, denazification, and demilitarization in order to eliminate the threat of a resurgent aggressive Germany. Gen. Lucius Clay was the U.S. military occupation commander. Cold War conflict with the Soviet Union led the United States to seek German economic revival and press the Western Allies to merge their occupation zones. Soviet resistance through a blockade of divided Berlin in the Russian zone in 1948 was overcome by the Berlin Airlift (1948–1949).
In May 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) was established as much as possible in the political image of the American republic. Initially, West Germany had limited domestic and foreign authority, and the Allies retained supervision and military bases. Under Konrad Adenauer (chancellor, 1949–63), West Germany received massive Marshall Plan aid, was rearmed, and was made a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1955; U.S. policy was to integrate Germany into Europe as a bastion against the expansion of Soviet influence and control. The Soviets converted their zone into the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1949 and made it part of the Warsaw Pact in 1955.
Beginning in the 1950s, as part of the U.S. commitment to NATO, large numbers of American troops and weapons were stationed in Germany. These included nuclear weapons by the mid‐1950s. In the Berlin Crises (1958, 1962) President John F. Kennedy protested but acquiesced when the Russians built a wall around Berlin in 1961. With the growth of U.S. and Soviet nuclear ICBM arsenals in the 1960s, the American troops in West Germany took on the added role of guarantor of the U.S. commitment to Central European defense, with the partnership between the United States and West Germany becoming the military core of NATO after France withdrew in 1966. That partnership became strained in the early 1980s when the USSR and the United States deployed a new generation of intermediate‐range nuclear missiles in the two Germanies.
The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, and the reunification of Germany with the consent of the four former occupying powers, accompanied the collapse of the Soviet empire and the end of the Cold War. As the United States reduced its military prescence in Germany, NATO expanded its original political purpose of linking the United States to Europe and Germany to the West by expanding that linkage beyond Germany into newly democratizing states in Eastern Europe.
John Gimbel , The American Occupation of Germany: Politics and the Military, 1945–1949, 1968.
Keith L. Nelson , Victors Divided: America and the Allies in Germany, 1989–1923, 1975.
David Calleo , The German Problem Reconsidered: Germany and the World Order, 1870 to the Present, 1978.
Hans W. Gatzke , Germany and the United States: A “Special Relationship”?, 1980.
Manfred Jonas , The United States and Germany: A Diplomatic History, 1984.
Wolfram F. Hanrieder , Germany, America, Europe: Forty Years of German Foreign Policy, 1989, 2nd ed. 1991.
Frank Ninkovich , Germany and the United States: The Transformation of the German Question Since 1945, 1995.
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Mexican Revolution, U.S. Military Involvement in the
At Veracruz, despite serious reservations, Wilson yielded to pressures for intervention from U.S. business interests, cabinet members, newspapers, and representatives of the Southwest. In January 1914, the president and his cabinet agreed to prepare the U.S. armed forces for an invasion of the Mexican port. Wilson ordered Secretary of War Lindley Garrison and Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to make the preparations, saying that it was “only a question of an opportune time and sufficient arrangements.”
The president ordered the invasion of Veracruz on 23 April 1914. His decision followed a minor episode at nearby Tampico that revealed a U.S. admiral's readiness to fight, if nothing else. The pretext for the invasion was a so‐called German ship, the Ypiranga, destined for Veracruz and carrying supplies for the Mexican armed forces. Actually the Ypiranga was at least one‐half American‐owned. It had received clearance for its cargo from Wilson himself well in advance of its departure for Mexico. If U.S. authorities had wanted to stop the ship, it could have been boarded at sea. When Veracruz was seized, the Ypiranga discharged its cargo at Puerto Mexico.
In reality, the president intended to depose the government of Gen. Victoriano Huerta by seizing and blockading Veracruz, the most important entrepôt for arms flowing to Mexico. By occupying the port city, Wilson could curtail the Mexican Army's access to military supplies and could dictate the flow of arms to the next government of Mexico. In Wilson's view, President Huerta had two major failings. First, the Mexican president could not maintain order and protect U.S. private and public interests—including the strategically important production of oil and rubber; and second, Huerta was a dictator who had imposed himself on the Mexican republic after murdering his democratically elected predecessor, Francisco Madero.
The U.S. attack on Veracruz turned into a tragedy when the Mexican civilian populace decided to resist. The recently upgraded guns of the U.S. warships took a terrible toll on the city. The Mexican casualty estimates vary so widely between the official U.S. figure and that of the cronista de la ciudad de Veracruz that accurate figures cannot be determined; but the U.S. forces lost nineteen dead and forty‐seven wounded. American troops stayed on after the fall of Huerta. During the summer of 1914, U.S. military officers worked with the constitutionalist faction among the Mexican revolutionary forces in Veracruz, establishing a joint administration of the customshouse and warehouse area. Between 19 and 23 November, as the first U.S. troops were leaving, U.S. officers supervised the unloading from five ships of military materials, which filled the warehouses and piers. In their last act the U.S. officers turned over the keys to the warehouses to the constitutionalist leaders two months later, the forces of Venustiano Carranza marched out of Veracruz to defeat the other revolutionary factions; they carried a wide array of U.S.‐supplied arms.
In 1916, President Wilson reacted to the attack of a defeated and embittered Mexican presidential Francisco Villa, on the hopeful border town of Columbus by launching a major punitive expedition to Mexico under the command of General Pershing. The U.S. president hoped to strengthen his position in acrimonious negotiations with Acting President Carranza and to eliminate the threat Villa's forces posed along the border. The Mexican government was increasingly nationalistic, and U.S. public and press opinion demanded security. The U.S. forces, 12,000 strong, brought a full complement of cavalry trucks and even observation aircraft with them. They marched as far as Parral, 419 miles inside Mexico, incurring serious resistance only a few times. The most notable battle was fought at El Carrizal between the U.S. detachment and Carranza's federal forces. The Mexicans surprised the U.S. commander by their resolve to fight and justified their claims of a tactical victory.
One of Pershing's contingency plans included the establishment of his headquarters at Parral just north of a line extending from Mazatlán to Tampico. That possibility must have occurred to the Mexican government because of the inordinate size of the U.S. force. At the onset of the U.S. invasion, Villa had lost popularity and could concentrate only slightly more than 500 combatants. Instead of being eliminated by the Punitive Expedition, Villa's forces grew until they reached 5,000, and Carranza found his government threatened by a loss of public support for its failure to halt the U.S. invasion. The Mexican public and government expressed deepening resentment toward the invading U.S. troops.
U.S. interventions affected the welfare of the approximately 50,000 North Americans living in Mexico even more than those at home. In the wake of the Veracruz invasion, anti–North American riots broke out in diverse parts of Mexico. The U.S. government set up stations at New Orleans, Texas City, and San Diego for the handling of North American refugees, many of whom lost virtually everything they owned in Mexico.
The U.S. government grew less belligerent toward Mexico as tensions with Germany deepened and the Carranza government, demonstrating increasing stability, prepared to promulgate a new constitution. On 27 January 1917, President Wilson ordered the U.S. troops withdrawn from Mexico. A new Mexican Constitution was proclaimed on 5 February 1917; Carranza was elected president on 11 March for a regular term, and the Wilson administration formally recognized the new Mexican government.
[See also Mexican War.]
Friedrich Katz , The Secret War in Mexico: Europe, the United States and the Mexican Revolution, 1981.
Alan Knight , The Mexican Revolution, 2 vols., 1986.
John Mason Hart , Revolutionary Mexico: The Coming and Process of the Mexican Revolution, 1998.
Friedrich Katz , The Life and Times of Pancho Villa, 1998.
John M. Hart
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China, U.S. Military Involvement in
From the 1830s to 1911, American forces came into contact with a declining empire, dispatching Marines ashore to protect American missionaries and businesspeople, establishing in 1891 the Yangtze River patrol, and during the Boxer Uprising in 1900 contributing three regiments to a multinational force to relieve foreign legations in Peking (now Beijing). When in 1911 a revolution overthrew the Manchus and ended imperial rule in China, the United States between 1911 and 1914 used two infantry regiments and units of Marines to defend U.S. treaty rights and protect American lives and property.
Following World War I, the U.S. Asiatic Squadron was upgraded to a fleet, and the army increased its interest in China. American forces faced a grave challenge in 1927 when the Nationalists (Kuomintang), led by Chiang Kai‐shek, marched north from Canton to unify the country. Fearing antiforeign attacks, the United States eventually put 5,000 American soldiers and Marines in China. The Japanese Army seized Manchuria in 1931 and invaded China south of the Great Wall in 1937. As conditions in China worsened, the U.S. Army's 15th Infantry Regiment, in China since 1912, left Tientsin in 1938. After the Panay incident, American gunboats ceased patrolling the Yangtze River in late 1940. The 4th Marines, which had become a symbol of the American commitment to the “open door” in China since 1927, left Shanghai in November 1941.
During World War II, U.S. Army officers like Gen. Joseph Stilwell pushed their Chinese allies to build and use the army to repulse the Japanese. Stilwell's first priority was the opening of the Burma Supply Road into China. U.S. Gen. Claire Chennault, commander of the Fourteenth Air Force, touted airpower as the key to victory in China. Chiang preferred Chennault's strategy for political reasons. As Stilwell predicted, the Japanese responded to Chennault's attacks by overrunning the poorly defended airfields. Stilwell was mistaken, however, in believing that the Pacific War would be won in China. By 1944, American advances in the Pacific made China a strategic backwater. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer replaced Stilwell later the same year.
In September 1945, after Japan's surrender, approximately 46,000 Marines occupied Tientsin and Tsingtao in northern China to repatriate Japanese troops and civilians and to prevent the Chinese Communists from seizing North China until Kuomintang troops could arrive from the southwest, transported by American planes and ships. Following V‐J Day, the U.S. Army and Navy created the Military Advisory Group in China to continue the modernization of Nationalist forces. To avert full‐scale civil war between Nationalists and Communists, President Truman dispatched retired Gen. George C. Marshall, who negotiated an uneasy truce.
In early 1947, the truce broke down. Chiang believed that American support would be unstinting. The Communists, led by Mao Zedong, distrusted the Americans. As the Communists overwhelmed Kuomintang forces, the Truman administration concluded that the Nationalists were beyond help. Most of the Marines left China in 1948, and Chiang, defeated, fled to Taiwan in 1949.
The third phase of American involvement began with the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 and lasted until the early 1970s. After the North Korean invasion of the South, President Truman ordered the Seventh Fleet to “neutralize” the Taiwan Strait to prevent the capture by the Communists of Chiang's Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan. In December 1950, after U.S.‐led UN forces drove the North Koreans back to the Chinese border, Chinese Communist “volunteers” intervened, driving back American troops and freezing Sino‐American relations in a state of implacable hostility for nearly two decades. Subsequently, the United States resumed its advisory mission on Taiwan. In 1954, in the midst of the first offshore islands crisis, the two governments concluded a mutual defense treaty. In 1958, during the second attempt by the PRC to seize the Nationalist‐held islands of Quemoy and Matsu, the Seventh Fleet alerted 140 ships for possible action in the strait. But Nationalist pilots, flying F‐86 Saber jets armed with modern sidewinder missiles, eliminated any possibility of a Communist attack.
During the 1960s, the looming presence of the PRC, which exploded its first nuclear device in 1964, led the U.S. government to restrict its operations in the Vietnam War. The process of detente, begun in 1972 by President Nixon, was completed with U.S. recognition of the PRC in 1979. During the 1980s, the United States sold the PRC military equipment to help modernize its forces. The Chinese also began building a “blue‐water” navy, augmented after 1991 by purchases from the former Soviet Union. The Soviet Union's collapse, growing trade friction with China, and Beijing's ambitious military program reawakened U.S. fears of PRC dominance in Asia.
In 1995, renewed U.S. arms sales to the ROC and political developments on Taiwan led the PRC to hold threatening military exercises in the Taiwan Strait. Although the U.S. defense commitment to Taiwan had ended in 1979, Washington placed the Seventh Fleet on alert for possible action in the strait. By early 1996, tensions had decreased. But the nettlesome Taiwan problem and the PRC's expanding military power raised troubling questions.
[See also China‐Burma‐India Theater; China Relief Expedition; Chinese Civil War, U.S. Involvement in the.]
Charles Romanus and and Riley Sunderland , Time Runs Out in CBI, 1959.
Joe C. Dixon, ed., The American Military and the Far East: Proceedings of the Ninth Military History Symposium, 1980.
Marc Gallicchio , The Cold War Begins in Asia: American East Asian Policy and the Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1988.
Warren I. Cohen , America's Response to China: A History of Sino‐American Relations, 1990.
Dennis L. Noble , Eagle and Dragon: The U.S. Military in China, 1901–1937, 1991.
Rosemary Foot , U.S. Relations with China Since 1949, 1995.
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Philippines, U.S. Military Involvement in the
President William McKinley decided to ask Spain to cede the Philippines to the United States in the Treaty of Paris (1898). Annexation was opposed by most Democrats and some Republicans, but supported particularly within the Republican Party for a variety of reasons, commercial as well as strategic. At Manila, fighting, largely provoked by the U.S. commanding general, Elwell S. Otis, broke out between American and Filipino forces on 4 February 1899, two days before the U.S. Senate narrowly ratified the treaty annexing the archipelago.
The Philippine War lasted from 1899 to 1902. Conventional unit warfare the first year, resulting in heavy Filipino casualties, was succeeded by substantial guerrilla warfare until Aguinaldo was captured by Frederick Funston in 1901. Atrocities occurred on both sides in the guerrilla war.
The U.S. military commander, Gen. Arthur MacArthur, who succeeded Otis in May 1900, continued to hold executive power even after a commission headed by federal Judge William Howard Taft arrived and began exercising legislative authority in September 1900. When Gen. Adna Chaffee relieved MacArthur in July 1901, McKinley transferred executive authority from MacArthur as military governor to Taft as civil governor. One of the civil government's first moves was to establish a Philippine Constabulary, consisting of American officers and Filipino enlisted men to maintain order in pacified areas while the U.S. Army and Philippine Scouts and Constabulary concentrated against the guerrilla bands.
American enthusiasm for formal overseas colonies diminished after the war, in part because of the price of more than 4,000 American deaths and 20,000 Filipino soldiers killed, along with a huge number of civilian casualties. American farmers worried over competition from Filipino produce while U.S. Army officers felt increasingly vulnerable in defending these distant islands against Japanese expansion. By 1907 a Philippine legislature, dominated by independistas, controlled the archipelago's internal affairs, and only the timing of full independence divided America's two main political parties. The Jones Act (1916) promised independence as soon as the Filipinos were ready.
But under the Republicans, progress slowed. From 1921 to 1927, the appointed governor general was U.S. Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood, who ruled with a heavy hand. The Great Depression and the Democratic administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt led in 1934 to the Tydings‐ McDuffie Act, which provided for a ten‐year transition to Philippine independence under a commonwealth government. Manuel Quezon was elected commonwealth president in 1935.
With the growing threat from Japan, Quezon sought to build up the Philippine military. With President Roosevelt's permission, Quezon hired recent U.S. Army chief of staff Gen. Douglas MacArthur (son of Arthur MacArthur) as a military adviser with the rank of field marshal, the only American ever to hold that title. When the Japanese invaded the islands in December 1941, they overwhelmed both the U.S. and the Philippine military. General MacArthur and Quezon left before the surrender of the besieged American forces on the island fortress of Corregidor in the Battle of Manila Bay. Three years later, despite the navy's plan to bypass the Philippines, MacArthur obtained Roosevelt's permission to liberate the archipelago, and in October 1944 he and American troops waded ashore after the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Less than a year after the end of the war, the Philippines was granted independence on 4 July 1946.
Particularly because of the Cold War, the American military presence continued in the Philippine Republic. Americans provided assistance to President Ramon Magsaysay (1953–57) and others in the suppression of the Communist‐led Huk rebellion (1946–54). In 1947, the United States was granted leases on several military bases there, including Clark Air Base and the U.S. Navy base at Subic Bay. President Ferdinand Marcos (1965–86) renegotiated those leases, and, at the urging of President Lyndon B. Johnson, sent a battalion of Philippine Army Engineers to South Vietnam.
In the post‐Marcos era, President Corazon Aquino (1986–92) survived the most serious attempted coup against her, in December 1989, through the help of U.S. military aircraft. The end of the Cold War made the U.S. military bases in the Philippines less crucial. As Filipino opposition to them mounted and the Philippine legislature increased its demands for lease renewals, the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in June 1991 covered Clark Air Base with volcanic ash, and the Philippine Senate rejected a proposed treaty, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy abandoned the bases they had held for nearly a century.
[See also Philippines, Liberation of the.]
Theodore Friend , Between Two Empires: The Ordeal of the Philippines, 1965.
Peter W. Stanley , A Nation in the Making: The United States and the Philippines, 1899–1921, 1974.
Richard Welch , Response to Imperialism: The United States and the Philippine‐American War, 1899–1902, 1979.
Stuart C. Miller , “Benevolent Assimilation”: The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899–1903, 1982.
Stanley Karnow , In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines, 1989.
Glenn Anthony May , Battle for Batangas: A Philippine Province at War, 1991.
Stuart Creighton Miller
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El Salvador, U.S. Military Involvement in
In the late 1970s, various small left‐wing insurgent groups allied to “popular organizations” of peasants, students, and slum dwellers began challenging the military government. Following the 1979 Sandinista victory in Nicaragua, U.S. national security experts feared El Salvador would be the next “Cuban‐Soviet proxy” on the American mainland. From late 1979 on, the Carter administration shipped arms to weak civilian‐military juntas, while death squad killings reached 1,000 per month, including 4 U.S. Catholic churchwomen and the country's archbishop, Oscar Romero, killed in March 1980 after requesting that President Jimmy Carter cut off aid.
In October 1980, five Marxist‐Leninist guerrilla organizations formed the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN). In January 1981, they launched a “final offensive,” just before Ronald Reagan assumed office. This attempt failed due to lack of arms and trained troops, and the guerrillas turned to consolidating their control over parts of the countryside.
Meanwhile, U.S. counterinsurgency experts and aid flooded in, as El Salvador became the first showplace for the new “Reagan Doctrine” of stopping and rolling back Third World revolutions. Eventually, $6 billion was funneled into a country the size of Massachusetts, with a population of 5 million. U.S. advisers managed the war down to the company level, and trained ten air‐mobile “hunter‐killer” battalions to seek out the elusive FMLN units. For all sides, from a widespread protest movement in the United States to North American military planners to the guerrillas, it seemed a replay of Vietnam. The one signal difference was that U.S. officers at all levels, and the president himself, were deeply committed to avoiding a ground war involving U.S. troops and casualties. This was the major innovation of the so‐called Low‐Intensity Conflict doctrine.
Between 1981 and 1989, the FMLN and U.S. specialists played a minuet involving all the classic elements of peasant‐based insurgency and counterinsurgency. A skirmishing war or “permanent offensive” by guerrilla columns drove demoralized government forces back in 1982–84, threatening a seizure of power. It was met by an effective political charge when a pro‐U.S. Christian Democrat, José Napoleon Duarte, defeated extreme rightist Roberto D’Aubuisson for president in a carefully staged 1984 election, promising peace. Meanwhile, a sophisticated air war utilizing U.S.‐supplied helicopter gunships, “Puff the Magic Dragon” minigun platforms, and the heaviest bombing in the hemisphere's history punished the FMLN's “zones of control,” driving out civilians and inflicting heavy losses on main force guerrilla units, which had reached a peak of more than 12,000 in 1984.
In response, the FMLN dispersed its troops throughout the country and focused on rebuilding an urban political base. Mines and constant ambushes depleted the government forces, which had quadrupled in size to 60,000 through heavy conscription. Army bases were periodically overrun, to demonstrate the guerrillas' capacity, while “solidarity organizations” in the United States and Europe supported the FMLN's civilian network. But the Left's popularity was limited by the growth of mass‐based electoral politics for the first time in Salvadoran history, led by the right‐wing ARENA Party, and containment of FMLN forces within thinly populated rural zones.
Growing urban unrest, the collapse of the Christian Democrats, and an increasingly professional FMLN army all led toward a massive guerrilla offensive in November 1989. In an odd valedictory for the end of the Cold War, rebel units held large parts of San Salvador for a week before retreating, their hopes for a popular uprising dashed. But the vigor of FMLN attacks, and the bankruptcy of the government forces—the U.S.‐trained Atlacatl Battalion butchered prominent Jesuit priests at the offensive's height—encouraged the Bush administration to support peace negotiations with a chastened FMLN.
The negotiating process, under UN auspices, lasted from spring 1990 through New Year's Day, 1992. It was punctuated by a renewed FMLN offensive late in 1990, using surface‐to‐air missiles obtained in Nicaragua, which threatened the government's air superiority. Eventually, an accord was signed that led to the retirement of most of the armed forces' senior officers, and the creation of a new civilian police incorporating members from both sides. In return, the FMLN gave up its armed struggle, and in the 1994 elections became the country's second‐largest civilian political party. The bitterest military conflict in late twentieth‐century Latin American history came to an end with all sides claiming a measure of victory.
[See also Guerrilla Warfare; Nicaragua, U.S. Military Involvement in.]
Hugh Byrne , El Salvador's Civil War: A Study of Revolution, 1996.
William LeoGrande , Our Own Backyard: The United States in Central America, 1998.
"El Salvador, U.S. Military Involvement in." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/el-salvador-us-military-involvement
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Dominican Republic, U.S. Military Involvement in the
The occupation of 1916–24, initiated by Wilson and his secretary of the navy, Josephus Daniels, was inspired both by previous policy and by growing U.S. fears of Germany's influence in the Caribbean. A military government headed by U.S. Navy and Marine officers, backed by several thousand Marines, displaced the constitutional Dominican government in 1916. Although there was limited resistance initially, opposition became important later in two distinct forms. The first involved a political struggle waged by nationalist elements of the elite and middle class. The second was a five‐year guerilla war (1917–22) fought by peasants in the country's eastern region. The event bought the first use of U.S. military aircraft in a guerrilla conflict. Both types of resistance, plus the general unpopularity of U.S. interventionist policy in Latin America and elsewhere, helped cause Washington to negotiate a withdrawal in 1924.
The U.S. occupation government, pursuing goals of stability and development, had implemented various reforms. The principal efforts involved education, public health, public works, and improvement of the weak and highly politicized military. Though serious problems affected all these endeavors, the two most successful were the creation of a modern road network and of a more effective but still politicized military. Both of these accomplishments became crucial to the creation of a dictatorship in 1930, by Gen. Rafael Trujillo, who had risen to power in the mid–1920s within the U.S.‐created Dominican military, the National Guard.
There were differences within the U.S. government over Trujillo. Some members of the Congress and elements of the Marine Corps were enthusiastic supporters, with several ex–Marine officers actually holding influential positions in his government. However, the State Department frequently opposed Trujillo, at least until the 1950s when his unconditional support for U.S. positions during the Cold War led Washington to ignore the abuses and megalomania characteristic of his regime. About 1960, following the Cuban revolution, the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, and the formation of internal Dominican forces of resistance, the U.S.–Trujillo relationship shifted. In 1961, Trujillo was assassinated by Dominicans aided by the Central Intelligence Agency.
In April 1965, a rebellion meant to restore the short‐lived (1963) constitutional government of President Juan Bosch was suppressed by the intervention of nearly 23,000 U.S. Marine and Army troops. President Lyndon B. Johnson's decision to intervene, like Wilson's in 1916, had strategic and economic roots, with the difference that the anti–Communist fears of U.S. national security policymakers led Johnson to exaggerate the possibility of the Dominican Republic becoming a “second Cuba.” The intervention was unilateral, although Washington soon pressured the Organization of American States to create an Inter‐American Defense Force, to which six Latin American countries contributed token forces.
The U.S. role in the events of 1965 remains disputed. The State Department claimed to act as a neutral broker by separating the warring factions and arranging for elections; yet most scholars conclude that U.S. actions distinctly favored more conservative elements. Their triumph in the 1966 elections, followed by the withdrawal of foreign troops, led to stable but repressive civilian rule. A U.S. Military Advisory and Assistance Group (MAAG) has maintained close ties with the Dominican military since the early 1960s. This relationship has proved important in recent decades as Washington has used its influence to pressure the Dominican military, and its civilian allies, to accept a policy of stability, gradual democratization, and strengthened ties to the U.S. economy.
[See also: Cuba, U.S. Military Involvement in; Haiti, U.S. Military Involvement in.]
Abraham F. Lowenthal , The Dominican Intervention, 1972.
Piero Gleijeses , The Dominican Crisis: the 1965 Constitutionalist Revolt and American Intervention, 1978.
Bruce J. Calder , The Impact of Intervention: The Dominican Republic During the U.S. Occupation of 1916–1924, 1984.
Eric Paul Roorda , The Dictator Next Door: The Good Neighbor Policy and the Trujillo Regime in the Dominican Republic, 1930–1945, 1998.
Bruce J. Calder
"Dominican Republic, U.S. Military Involvement in the." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.
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Nicaragua, U.S. Military Involvement in
Nicaragua first gained importance to the United States as a potential canal route through Central America. With the construction of the Panama Canal, that importance shifted to economic and security concerns. Instability or a government unfriendly to the United States were seen as threats to the Panama Canal. It was just such conditions that prompted the first intervention and led to the establishment of what was in effect an American protectorate over Nicaragua until 1933.
In 1909, President José Zelaya's government executed two Americans who had joined a revolutionary force opposing his rule. The United States broke relations with the government in Managua, and the U.S. Navy was used to aid the rebels in a decisive battle against Zelaya's forces. The victorious revolutionaries, under the leadership of Adolfo Díaz, negotiated a treaty establishing U.S. control over Nicaragua's customs—the exporting nation's main source of revenue. American forces were removed in 1910, but over 2,000 U.S. Marines were sent back in 1912 to help protect the Díaz government against a new uprising. After the defeat of the rebellion, most Marines were withdrawn, but 100 remained to ensure stability. This arrangement was ratified in the 1916 Bryan‐Chamorro Treaty, which extended American financial aid to Nicaragua and granted the United States sole rights for any future canal built there.
By 1925, the Coolidge administration concluded that Nicaragua was stable enough for U.S. forces to depart. The outbreak of civil war in late 1926, however, brought a third round of American intervention. Secretary of State Frank Kellogg justified military intervention because Communists were fighting the government. Actually, liberal forces were contesting Díaz's taking of the presidency from Gen. Emiliano Chamorro Vargas. Washington quickly recognized Díaz and sent lawyer‐diplomat Henry L. Stimson to Nicaragua to supervise elections and establish a National Guard (Guardia Nacional) to be trained by the Marines. All the liberal forces agreed to the settlement imposed by Stimson except for Augusto Sandino, who vowed to fight until U.S. forces were withdrawn.
Stimson, appointed secretary of state by Herbert C. Hoover, concluded that the Guardia Nacional was ready to handle the problem of Sandino and maintain order in Nicaragua. The last of the Marines departed in 1933, and the Guardia Nacional under Anastasio Somoza became the most powerful military force in Nicaragua. Sandino ended his fighting as promised, but was killed in 1934 by the Guardia Nacional. In 1936, Somoza formally took over all power in Nicaragua. He and his two sons would rule with American support until 1979, when the Somoza dictatorship was overthrown by the Sandinista National Liberation Front.
In the 1980s, tensions developed quickly between the leftist Sandinistas and the U.S. government. When promised U.S. economic aid was delayed by Congress, the new revolutionary government turned to other nations, particularly Cuba, for advisers and technicians, and produced scathing criticisms of American foreign policy in Latin America. As it left office, the Carter administration suspended the belated economic assistance on the grounds that the Sandinistas were aiding leftist rebels in neighboring El Salvador. In 1981, the Reagan administration came to office determined to oust the Sandinistas. To do so, the United States applied a wide range of political and economic pressure to undermine the Nicaraguan government. Most important, Reagan provided $19 million to the Central Intelligence Agency in November 1981 to begin training a counterrevolutionary army known as the Contras. Led by former Guardia Nacional officers, the Contras by 1986 consisted of over 15,000 soldiers supported by the United States. During the period when a Democratic majority in Congress banned aid to the rebels, the administration used a variety of means to funnel funds to them illegally. In what became known as the Iran‐Contra Affair (1986), one scheme diverted money from secret arms sales to Iran to the Contras. Even with U.S. aid and bases in Honduras, the Contras were unable to unseat the Sandinistas. The war ended after a negotiated settlement sponsored by other Latin American nations led to free elections in 1989 and the victory of the anti‐Sandinista coalition.
[See also Caribbean and Latin America, U.S. Military Involvement in the; Marine Corps, U.S.: 1865–1914; Marine Corps, U.S.: 1914–1945.]
Neill Macaulay , The Sandino Affair, 1967.
William Kammen , A Search for Stability: United States Diplomacy Toward Nicaragua, 1925–1933, 1968.
Richard Millett , Guardians of the Dynasty: A History of the U.S.‐Created Guardia Nacional de Nicaragua and the Somoza Family, 1977.
Robert Pastor , Condemned to Repetition: The United States and Nicaragua, 1987.
Cynthia J. Arnson , Crossroads: Congress, the President, and Central America, 1976–1993, 1993.
Robert Kagan , A Twilight Struggle: America Power and Nicaragua, 1977–1990, 1995.
Walter LaFeber , Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America, 2nd rev. ed. 1993.
David F. Schmitz
"Nicaragua, U.S. Military Involvement in." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/nicaragua-us-military-involvement
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Panama, U.S. Military Involvement in
American military and naval leaders had long dreamed of a Central American canal that would allow them to project U.S. power over two oceans using only one naval fleet. The lengthy voyage of the USS Oregon around Cape Horn during the Spanish‐American War strengthened their resolve to secure an interoceanic passage. Secessionist rumblings in Panama provided the opportunity. In violation of the 1846 treaty, the United States deployed warships and landed Marines in order to block Colombian troops from putting down the Panamanian rebellion. Panama became an independent nation on 3 November 1903, but the Hay‐Bunau‐Varilla Treaty penned two weeks later made the new republic a U.S. protectorate. In addition to the right to intervene militarily in Panama, the treaty gave the United States the right to build a canal through a ten‐mile‐wide “zone” leased in perpetuity. These generous concessions would be the major source of tension in U.S.‐Panama relations for decades.
By the time the Panama Canal opened in 1914, the U.S. military had already established a firm foothold on the isthmus. A U.S. military administration presided over the waterway, which was guarded by U.S. ground troops, naval vessels, and coastal artillery batteries. All transportation and communication in the country came under the watchful eyes of the U.S. forces. This strong military presence served the dual function of defending the canal against interlopers from outside Panama and eliminating threats from within the country. The latter project came to dominate U.S. activities in Panama. At different times the United States wielded its power to help disband the Panamanian Army, supervise elections, halt urban rioting, and pressure political leaders. The United States eventually renounced its right to intervene, but it had amply demonstrated a willingness to subordinate Panama to the needs of canal security.
The presence of the U.S. military in Panama reached its peak during World War II, when the United States operated 14 bases, established more than 100 defense sites, and stationed as many as 67,000 troops there. Although the canal remained physically unscathed, it would never again be the linchpin of American hemispheric strategy. While the Panamanians objected more vocally to the U.S. presence, Washington found the canal too narrow for the U.S. Navy's new supercarriers and too vulnerable to air and atomic attack. Postwar military involvement therefore included converting the Panamanian National Guard into a quasi‐military force, training soldiers in jungle warfare, and maintaining intelligence operations in the region. U.S. forces were deployed when riots over which nation's flag would be flown in the Canal Zone erupted in 1959 and again in 1964. Although the canal itself became less vital to U.S. strategic interests, it remained a potent political symbol to both countries.
Exclusive control of the canal had once been axiomatic in U.S. strategic thought. But Washington began to reconsider its policy toward Panama in the aftermath of the 1964 flag riots. A new treaty signed in 1977 promised to turn over the canal to Panamanian control on 31 December 1999. Despite some resistance from elements within the defense community, the Pentagon officially endorsed the treaty and agreed to scale back its activities in Panama. To help stabilize the nation after the American withdrawal and to maintain an important pipeline to the Nicaraguan Contras in the 1980s, the United States funneled aid to the Panamanian Defense Forces (PDF; formerly the National Guard). When President George Bush decided he could no longer countenance PDF chief Gen. Manuel Noriega, who was accused of election fraud and drug trafficking, he launched the massive Operation Just Cause to capture Noriega in December 1989. The invasion resulted in hundreds of U.S. casualties and possibly more than 1,000 Panamanian deaths; it also made clear that the United States would not easily sacrifice its historic prerogatives over Panama and its canal.
[See also Caribbean and Latin America, U.S. Military Involvement in the; Nicaragua, U.S. Military Involvement in.]
Larry LaRae Pippin , The Remon Era, 1964.
William D. McCain , The United States and the Republic of Panama, 1970.
Walter LaFeber , The Panama Canal, 1978.
John Major , Wasting Asset: The U.S. Re‐Assessment of the Panama Canal, 1945–1949, Journal of Strategic Studies, 3 (September 1980), pp. 123–46.
Michael L. Conniff , Panama and the United States, 1992.
"Panama, U.S. Military Involvement in." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/panama-us-military-involvement
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Korea, U.S. Military Involvement in
With the defeat of Japan in 1945, the United States and the Soviet Union shared a trusteeship over the Korean peninsula, the Red Army occupying the area north of the 38th parallel and the U.S. Army under Gen. John R. Hodge the South. That division, meant to have been temporary, became permanent with the hardening of the Cold War.
In 1948, after Moscow rejected a United Nations plan for free elections throughout Korea, elections in the South led to the Republic of Korea; a former exile from the United States, Syngman Rhee, served as president (1948–60). In response, Moscow created the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the North, headed by Communist leader Kim Il Sung (1948–94).
Although the Republic of Korea initially received some U.S. assistance, the Joint Chiefs of Staff advised President Harry S. Truman that the United States had little strategic interest in maintaining American troops and bases there. In June 1949, the troops were withdrawn; Soviet troops also withdrew that year. In January 1950, Secretary of State Dean Acheson publicly defined the U.S. defense perimeter as including Japan and Taiwan but not Korea. Six months later, after a series of border clashes, Soviet‐backed North Korean forces invaded and conquered much of the South. The Truman administration reevaluated its position and led a UN‐authorized military coalition to repel the Communist aggression.
The Korean War (1950–53), in which the U.S. military suffered 196,000 casualties, including 54,000 dead, in a war against North Korea and ultimately also “volunteers” from the People's Republic of China, ended in a truce signed in Panmunjom by military representatives from the United States and North Korea but not South Korea. Rhee's resistance was softened, however, by guarantees of increased military assistance, continued U.S. troops, and a mutual security treaty with the United States.
As a symbolic bastion of containment policy during the Cold War, Korea remained an area of major U.S. military commitment and periodic incidents, particularly along the fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South. Under Gen. Park Chung Hee (president, 1961–79), South Korea sent troops to fight alongside U.S. forces in South Vietnam. In 1968, North Korea curtailed U.S. seaborne electronic intelligence gathering off its coast by capturing the USS Pueblo and its crew. In the early 1970s, the Nixon administration's Asian self‐defense policy led to the removal of one U.S. division from Korea, but an attempt by the Carter administration to reduce U.S. forces there was thwarted. When Park's successor, Gen. Chun Doo Hwan, used the South Korean Army to crush a May 1980 insurrection in Kwangju, there were allegations of U.S. complicity.
The collapse of the Soviet empire in 1989–90 rendered Communist North Korea increasingly isolated and impoverished, while the South Korean government flourished with the resumption of popularly elected government in 1987. The North Korean nuclear program, which may have included nuclear weapons, led to a major international crisis in 1994, when Pyongyang initially rejected UN monitoring. The Clinton administration threatened an economic blockade and there was speculation about possible U.S. air strikes. However, the crisis was defused with the help of former President Jimmy Carter. The United States and the two Koreas began talks, which continued in the late 1990s despite the death of Kim Il Sung (1994) and periodic North Korean incidents such as the shooting down (1994) of a U.S. Army helicopter that had strayed into the DMZ, and the foiled attempt (1996) to stage commando raids from a submarine off South Korea. With North Korea facing economic collapse that might lead to military action, the United States retained some 36,000 military personnel in Korea, its third‐largest permanent overseas contingent in the 1990s.
[See also Civil–Military Relations: Military Governments and Occupation; Cold War: Causes; Cold War: External Course; Cold War: Changing Interpretations; Korean War.]
E. Grant Meade , American Military Government in Korea, 1951.
Robert K. Sawyer , Military Advisers in Korea: KMAG in War and Peace, 1962.
Ralph N. Clough , Embattled Korea, 1987.
Edward A. Olsen , U.S. Policy and the Two Koreas, 1988.
Bruce Cumings , The Origins of the Korean War, 2 vols., 1990.
Doug Bandow and Ted Galen Carpenter, eds., The U.S.‐South Korean Alliance: Time for a Change, 1992.
William Stueck , The Korean War: An International History, 1995.
John Whiteclay Chambers II
"Korea, U.S. Military Involvement in." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/korea-us-military-involvement
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Haiti, U.S. Military Involvement in
Real authority in Haiti then rested with the Americans, although they permitted the election of President Philippe S. Dartiguenave. Normally, the cacos (rebel bandits) would have faded back into the hills; but angered by white American occupation, they lashed out, particularly in northern Haiti. The Marines quelled sporadic violence for over a year. In 1916–18, U.S. occupation forces attempted to win over the peasantry and implement construction programs, but they remained unpopular. The resident U.S. naval commander dissolved the Haitian Congress and dictated a new constitution. By 1918, opposition leader Charlemagne Peralte mounted a rebellion in the north, while his lieutenant, Benoit Batraville, led a revolt in central Haiti. The Gendarmerie (local constabulary trained and officered by Marines), supported by the Marine brigade, tracked down and killed Peralte (1919) and Batraville (1920).
During the depression, President Herbert Hoover appointed the Forbes Commission, which concluded that the occupation, failing to respond to Haiti's problems, should be abolished. U.S. troops began to transfer responsibilities to Haitian nationals. The last Marines left Haiti under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's order in 1934, although U.S. fiscal control remained until 1947.
The United States took a renewed interest in Haiti during the Cold War. Washington reluctantly backed a series of military strongmen, including François (“Papa Doc”) Duvalier, a disarmingly simple country doctor without apparent military connections who was elected president in 1957. In 1958, Duvalier asked that Marines retrain and reorganize the Haitian Army, and again the Marines handled public works as well as police functions while trying to develop an army that would resist communism. Duvalier became increasingly dictatorial, using a paramilitary secret police to impose terror. Although the United States government was reluctant to cut off aid to Haiti after Cuba became Communist in 1959, it withdrew its military mission and virtually shut down its embassy. “Papa Doc” died in 1971; he was succeeded by his son, Jean Claude (“Baby Doc”) Duvalier.
Unprecedented famine and terrorism in the 1970s and 1980s drove desperate peasants to flee to the United States. Duvalier responded to the Carter administration's outrage with inconsequential reforms. In 1983, Pope John Paul II visited Haiti. His attention to human rights emboldened Haiti's Catholic clergy to call for improvements in social conditions and a grassroots movement responded.
The Reagan administration distanced itself from Duvalier, now clearly weakened by internal unrest, and the United States orchestrated his departure in 1986. A National Council of Government took over, but showed little interest in reform. The growing liberation theology began to coalesce around Father Jean‐Bertrand Aristide, who was elected president in December 1990, in Haiti's first free election. Overthrown in September 1991 by a military coup, Aristide fled to the United States.
In 1994, the Clinton administration, confronted with a continuing exodus of seaborne Haitians seeking refuge in the United States, obtained economic sanctions and then authorization from the United Nations for military force to remove the junta. With a U.S. military and naval force offshore, and paratroopers en route to the island, a last‐minute mission headed by former president Jimmy Carter achieved an agreement with the junta on 18 September for its resignation. U.S. troops came ashore without opposition. Aristide returned 15 October. A U.S. intervention force of 20,000 remained in Haiti from September 1994 to March 1995, when it was replaced by a UN peacekeeping force of 6,000, including 2,400 U.S. troops. The poorest nation in the hemisphere, Haiti remained impoverished and plagued by periodic strikes and violence, but it had a democratically elected government at last.
[See also Caribbean and Latin America, U.S. Military Involvement in the.]
James H. McCrockin , Garde d'Haiti, 1915–1934, 1956.
Dana G. Munro , The American Withdrawal from Haiti, 1929–1934, Hispanic American Historical Review, 49 (February1969), pp. 1–26.
Hans Schmidt , The United States Occupation of Haiti, 1915–1934, 1971.
Robert D. and and Nancy
G. Heinl , Written in Blood, 1978.
James Ferguson , Papa Doc, Baby Doc. Haiti and the Duvaliers, 1987.
Anne Cipriano Venzon
"Haiti, U.S. Military Involvement in." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/haiti-us-military-involvement
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United Kingdom, U.S. Military Involvement in the
During the Cold War, before development of the B‐52 intercontinental bomber in the early 1950s, the United Kingdom was of crucial strategic importance for USAF bombers defending Western Europe. The first B‐29s capable of carrying atomic munitions arrived in the summer of 1949 in East Anglia. This and the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 led to British demands for more formal understandings about U.S. basing. Meetings between Prime Ministers Clement Attlee and Winston S. Churchill with President Harry S. Truman in 1950 and 1952, respectively, resulted in the controversial understanding that the use of the bases would be a “matter for joint decision” by the two governments “in the light of the circumstances prevailing at the time.” American concerns centered on whether this implied a British veto; British concerns centered on the possible use of U.S. nuclear weapons without consultation.
Throughout the 1950s, the number of air bases grew. Strategic Air Command (SAC) operations in Britain were overseen by the Seventh Air Division (headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska), while the Third Air Force (headquarters at RAF Mildenhall) assumed responsibility for all tactical and logistical activities. The number of U.S. military personnel grew to around 30,000 deployed on 9 major bases and 30 smaller locations.
The growing importance of missiles was stressed in 1957, when intermediate‐range ballistic missiles were introduced into Britain, as well as into Italy and Turkey, to balance a perceived Soviet advantage in the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Special emphasis was placed on low‐level penetration of Warsaw Pact nations' air defenses, a role assumed by the Third Air Force and the F‐111 aircraft based in Oxfordshire and East Anglia. The advent of longer‐range missiles also raised concerns about the vulnerability of air bases and heavy bomber aircraft, which led to the deactivation of the Seventh Air Division in 1965.
The U.S. Navy assumed a significant role in 1960 in an agreement between President John F. Kennedy and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan to use Holy Loch in Scotland for deployment of nuclear‐armed Polaris (later Trident) submarines. In spite of the cutback in SAC operations, the number of U.S. military personnel remained constant, due to the naval presence and the influx of U.S. military personnel from France in 1967 following withdrawal of French forces from NATO.
Public opposition to the U.S. military presence in the United Kingdom was primarily antinuclear (with the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament taking a leading role), notably against the Thor missiles, Polaris and Trident submarines, and the deployment of ground‐launched Pershing cruise missiles following the 1979 North Atlantic Council decision. The use of U.S. bases in East Anglia for the 1986 air strike against Libya also prompted public opposition, although the raid had the full support of Margaret Thatcher's government.
The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact saw a reduction in the number of American service personnel in the United Kingdom. By mid‐1995, there were 18 U.S. bases or facilities in the United Kingdom and nearly 14,000 active duty personnel, 2,384 civilian personnel, and 10,281 dependents.
[See also France, Liberation of; Germany, Battle for; Middle East, U.S. Military Involvement in the; World War II: Military and Diplomatic Course.]
Duncan Campbell , The Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier, 1984.
Robert Jackson , Strike Force: The USAF in Britain Since 1948, 1986.
Simon Duke , U.S. Defence Bases in the United Kingdom, 1987.
Simon Duke and Wolfgang Krieger, eds., U.S. Military Forces in Europe: The Early Years, 1945–60, 1993.
David Reynolds , Rich Relations: The American Occupation of Britain, 1942–5, 1995.
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Canada, U.S. Military Involvement in
After Canadian Confederation in 1867, the frequently aggressive‐sounding United States continued to be perceived as a military threat to the new dominion. Repeated war scares in the 1870s and 1890s produced bursts of Canadian martial enthusiasm, but economic and social intercourse made such talk increasingly unreal.
The two countries cooperated militarily in 1917–18. Each provided pilot training to the other's nationals; the U.S. Navy lent materiel for the Canadian antisubmarine war; and military‐industrial cooperation flourished. President Roosevelt was close to Prime Minister Mackenzie King, and in 1940 they created the Permanent Joint Board on Defense. Agreements to maximize war production followed; there were joint operations in the Aleutians, and U.S. troops built and manned air and other installations in northern Canada. After 1945, these were purchased by sovereignty‐conscious Ottawa.
During the Cold War, the new Soviet threat forced continued cooperation. U.S. bases in Newfoundland, acquired in 1941, remained a sore point, and joint northern radar lines were contentious projects, especially when the Dew Line (distant early warning) bases forbade entry to members of the Canadian Parliament. Nonetheless, air defenses were combined in the NORAD (North American Air Defense) Agreement (1957–58). The Conservative government of Prime Minister John Diefenbaker undertook to acquire nuclear weapons for its NORAD and NATO forces, but it delayed and was toppled in Parliament in 1963. Some charged that the administration of President John F. Kennedy had connived at its downfall; certainly, the successor Canadian government under Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson accepted the weapons. Ottawa was less accommodating during the Vietnam War, when Canada provided haven to perhaps 100,000 American deserters or draft evaders and Prime Minister Pearson was occasionally critical of U.S. policy. Nonetheless, military cooperation between the two nations remained close in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Canadian forces relied on U.S. equipment, they trained with American forces, and Canada's United Nations peacekeeping frequently served U.S. interests, as in Haiti in the 1990s. Not without domestic opposition, Canada permitted cruise missile testing over its territory, and it participated in the U.S.‐led coalition in the Persian Gulf War. The myth of the undefended border had been replaced by close defense cooperation.
[See also Arctic Warfare; Cold War; Destroyers‐for‐Bases Agreement.]
J. L. Granatstein and and Norman Hillmer , For Better or for Worse: Canada and the United States to the 1990s, 1991.
Desmond Morton , A Military History of Canada: From Champlain to the Gulf War, 1992.
J. L. Granatstein
"Canada, U.S. Military Involvement in." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/canada-us-military-involvement
"Canada, U.S. Military Involvement in." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/canada-us-military-involvement
Russia, U.S. Military Involvement in, 1921–95
In World War II, as a cobelligerent with the Soviet Union against Germany and Italy, the United States provided extensive material military assistance to the Soviet Union under the Lend‐Lease Act and Agreements. And in 1944, some U.S. aircraft flying bombing missions against targets in German‐occupied or German‐allied Central and Eastern Europe landed on airfields in the Soviet Union. U.S. military personnel were thus involved in the military supply effort (by sea in Murmansk, by air through Alaska, and by land through Iran) and to a limited extent in direct support of U.S. air combat operations.
After this cooperative engagement in World War II, as U.S.‐Soviet relations plummeted into the Cold War during the years after 1945, there was again no direct U.S. military involvement in Russia. There was, however, an active U.S. military role in air and sea reconnaissance along the borders of the Soviet Union. Sometimes inadvertently, and sometimes deliberately, such forays transgressed into illegal incursions into Soviet coastal water and air space. There were also some military, as well as Central Intelligence Agency, deep air penetrations. This led to dozens of incidents and the shooting down of thirty‐one U.S. military aircraft along Soviet borders between 1950 and 1970. Some minor accidental collisions of U.S. submarines and Soviet ships took place in or near Soviet waters, and there was one deliberate minor collision between surface warships in Soviet territorial waters in 1983.
In only one instance during the Cold War did the United States engage in direct military combat action against a target in the Soviet Union, and then not deliberately. During the Korean War, in 1950, an American fighter‐bomber by error bombed and strafed a military airfield in the Soviet Union near North Korea.
As the Cold War drew to a close, such incidents declined sharply. Moreover, new forms of cooperative and even collaborative contacts emerged. The Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 1987 provided for inspection of intermediate‐range missile facilities in the two countries, and U.S. military inspectors thereafter visited many locations in the Soviet Union. This pattern expanded under the START Treaty of 1990, both treaties going beyond the SALT agreements of 1972 in providing exchanges of military information as well as on‐site inspection.
Following a meeting of Soviet minister of defense Dmitry Yazov and U.S. secretary of defense Frank Carlucci in 1987, a series of bilateral high‐level military contacts took place. The respective military chiefs of staff, Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev and Adm. William Crowe, reciprocated visits in 1988–89. Many military exchanges at lower levels, including from respective War Colleges, ensued. Ships of the two navies also carried out courtesy calls.
Such cooperative relations continued between Russia and the United States after the Soviet Union dissolved at the end of 1991. By 1995, perspective collaboration in peacekeeping operations during the Bosnian Crisis was planned with Russian troops under a senior American commander. A new era had arrived.
[See also Russia, U.S. Military Intervention in, 1917–20; SALT Treaties; START Treaty (1982); World War II: Military and Diplomatic Course.]
Raymond L. Garthoff
"Russia, U.S. Military Involvement in, 1921–95." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/russia-us-military-involvement-1921-95
"Russia, U.S. Military Involvement in, 1921–95." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/russia-us-military-involvement-1921-95
Lebanon, U.S. Military Involvement in
Following Eisenhower's announcement, the U.S. Sixth Fleet, patrolling the eastern Mediterranean, became a visible symbol of U.S. interest and power in the region. However, such a display of force failed to stymie the onrush of events that challenged American aims. The creation of the United Arab Republic, an anti‐U.S. union of Syria and Egypt in early 1958; the outbreak of civil war in Lebanon in May 1958; and finally, the overthrow of a pro‐Western regime in Iraq in early July, all provoked Eisenhower to order three U.S. Marine Corps battalion landing teams ashore in Lebanon on 15–16 July 1958. U.S. Army airborne forces were flown in from Germany on 19 July. By August, the American military contingent in the country consisted of over 15,000 troops. An uneasy truce came about in September, and when elections were announced, U.S. forces were withdrawn in October 1958.
The 1958 American incursion in Lebanon was practically casualty‐free, but the 1982–84 involvement was wholly different. When Israeli forces invaded Lebanon in an attack on anti‐Israeli forces in June 1982, the administration of President Ronald Reagan became concerned over the region's instability and opted to land Marines at Beirut in August to help restore stability in the divided country. The 800‐man unit, the 32nd Marine Amphibious Unit, was withdrawn in 15 days. Negotiating with its Western allies, the United States participated in a multinational stability effort later that fall. Two U.S. military missions were established. First, Army Special Forces units were deployed to Beirut with the task of training pro‐Western Lebanese forces; second, U.S. Marines were once again landed with the assignment to protect the Beirut airport. The Marines went ashore amid lavish press coverage and promptly became targets of snipers and occasional artillery fire. Attempts to quell these attacks by U.S. naval gunfire and air strikes failed to stop the harassment. Special Forces troopers kept a low profile in Lebanon, dodging the press and melding in with their Lebanese trainees.
In mid‐April 1983, a truck bomb exploded near the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing more than 60 people, including 17 Americans. Despite this episode, on 23 October 1983, a terrorist was able to drive a truck loaded with explosives past Marine guards and into the Marine headquarters. The terrorist detonated the load, killing himself and 241 of the 300 Marines asleep in the building. The Marines were withdrawn from Lebanon on 26 February 1984; in March, the United States announced its abandonment of the multinational security effort. Army Special Forces elements remained in Lebanon and continued their mission for a few more months without incident. Fighting in Lebanon continued through most of the 1980s.
[See also Middle East, U.S. Military Involvement in the; Peacekeeping.]
Roger J. Spiller , “Not War But Like War”: The American Intervention in Lebanon, 1981.
Eric M. Hammel , The Root: The Marines in Beirut, August 1982–February 1984, 1985.
"Lebanon, U.S. Military Involvement in." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/lebanon-us-military-involvement
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Somalia, U.S. Military Involvement in
Troops of the United Nations Task Force (UNITAF) land ed in December 1992. UNITAF was a U.S. military operation, although troops from 30 countries were included; at its peak it numbered about 38,000 troops, of which 25,000 were American. Its mission was confined to relief; the United Nations would conduct political negotiations and prepare a force to replace it. UNITAF succeeded in stopping famine throughout the country within five months.
UNOSOM II had about the same troop strength but a more ambitious task: to establish a Somali government. Somali factions attacked UNOSOM troops, and the conflict escalated. U.S. Delta Force commandos and rangers were sent to Somalia to capture Aideed. Instead, on 3 October 1993, they were ambushed and lost eighteen men. Television cameras showed one of the dead Americans being dragged through the streets. The Clinton administration decided to negotiate with Aideed. U.S. troops were withdrawn, and the rest of the UN forces left Somalia in March 1995. The famine had been ended, but UN peacekeeping had been discredited in the United States.
John L. Hirsch and and Robert B. Oakley , Somalia and Operation Restore Hope, 1995.
Jonathan Stevenson , Losing Mogadishu, 1995.
Mark Bowden , Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, 1999.
"Somalia, U.S. Military Involvement in." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/somalia-us-military-involvement
"Somalia, U.S. Military Involvement in." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/somalia-us-military-involvement