Caribbean and Latin America, U.S. Military Involvement in the

views updated May 23 2018

Caribbean and Latin America, U.S. Military Involvement in the. Since the enunciation of the Monroe Doctrine (1823), U.S. policy towards the countries to the south has reflected the tensions between a self‐interested appraisal of North American economic and military interests and an idealistic declaration of commitment to democracy. As the Monroe Doctrine indicates, the United States has viewed the New World as superior to the Old World, and the United States itself as the leader and protector of the Western Hemisphere. Yet the ideas of a common moral, political, and economic superiority in the New World and U.S. responsibility for the region have often produced impatience with the pace and direction of development in the Caribbean and Latin America. When impatience led to U.S. military intervention, the use of force was sometimes aimed at advancing the economic interests or national security of the United States and sometimes directed at keeping European influence out of the region.

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

Middle East, U.S. Military Involvement in the

views updated Jun 27 2018

Middle East, U.S. Military Involvement in the. The Middle East—defined here as the area stretching from the Persian Gulf to North Africa—has witnessed sporadic U.S. military intervention since 1801, when Thomas Jefferson dispatched a flotilla of warships to the shores of Tripoli to protect American commerce from raids by the Barbary pirates. The U.S. Navy periodically patrolled the Mediterranean during the nineteenth century from bases in Minorca and Sicily, and American troops fought their first major engagement of World War II—Operation Torch—in Algeria.

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.

Douglas Little

Germany, U.S. Military Involvement in

views updated May 29 2018

Germany, U.S. Military Involvement in. American military involvement in or with Germany has followed a mixed course over the past two centuries. Initial American sympathy for German unification in 1871 in appreciation of German support for the Union in the Civil War was transformed as Germany evolved into an autocratic and militaristic state, dominated by a blustering kaiser, Wilhelm II. Imperial Germany soon became a rival of the United States as both nations embarked on rapid industrialization and expansion of their world trade, built large navies, and began to engage in overseas expansion. Although the Americans were concerned with competitive German ambitions in Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific, the primary threat was seen as potential German hegemony that would upset the balance of power in Europe.

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.

Manfred Jonas

Russia, U.S. Military Intervention in, 1917–20

views updated Jun 27 2018

Russia, U.S. Military Intervention in, 1917–20. American intervention in Russia developed in response to the political turmoil and great power competition triggered by the Russian Revolution and civil war. President Woodrow Wilson and his advisers enthusiastically welcomed the revolution of March 1917, seeing the overthrow of the incompetent and allegedly pro‐German Czarist regime as a triumph of American political principles, an opening to displace German and British rivals for Russian markets, and an opportunity to revitalize Russia's military effort against the Central Powers at the moment when the United States was entering the Great War on the side of the Allies. However, in the following months, Bolsheviks and other antiwar radicals challenged the Russian provisional government's continuation of the war and stimulated socialist and pacifist agitation in foreign countries. In response, in the summer and fall of 1917, American officials offered financial and political support to the liberal and moderate socialist leaders of the provisional government and approved publicity campaigns to counter Bolshevik and German propaganda.

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

Iran, U.S. Military Involvement in

views updated May 23 2018

Iran, U.S. Military Involvement in. The American military first assumed a role in Iran in 1942. The shift of the lend‐lease supply route to the Soviet Union from Murmansk to the Persian corridor brought American military personnel to Iran. They came for two reasons: to move supplies across Iran and to shore up the Iranian government headed by Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlevi. The Americans organized a series of advisory missions to stabilize Iran, including one to reform its army and another to reorganize the gendarmerie (state police). The first adviser, Gen. John Greely, set out to improve the army's fighting quality, but lacked authorization or resources. His successor, Gen. Clarence Ridley, followed War Department guidelines to evaluate a military assistance program and reorganize the Iranian military supply system. Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf (father of the leader of Desert Storm) headed the gendarmerie mission. By 1943, some 30,000 troops of the Persian Gulf Service Command (PGC) under Gen. Donald Connolly had begun rebuilding roads and the railroad to move Lend‐Lease supplies from the gulf to the Soviet Union.

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

Cuba, U.S. Military Involvement in.

views updated May 21 2018

Cuba, U.S. Military Involvement in. “So far from God, so close to the United States,” one Cuban historian despaired. Proximity alone, however, did not determine the varied nature of U.S. military deployments to Cuba, and the Cubans themselves bear part of the responsibility for yanqui military appearance. Fighting the Spaniards or themselves, they often asked for U.S. troops, then complained when they arrived.

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

China, U.S. Military Involvement in

views updated Jun 11 2018

China, U.S. Military Involvement in. The United States maintained a military presence in China or its territorial waters from 1835, when it established the East Indies Squadron, through the 1950s, when it actively supported the defense of the Republic of China on Taiwan against an attack from the Communist‐led People's Republic of China (PRC).

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.

Marc Gallicchio

Philippines, U.S. Military Involvement in the

views updated May 21 2018

Philippines, U.S. Military Involvement in the began with Adm. George Dewey's stunning victory over the Spanish Pacific Fleet in the Battle of Manila Bay on 1 May 1898, at the beginning of the Spanish‐American War. The situation was complicated by the presence of a Filipino colonial rebellion, which declared independence from Madrid and created a national government under the leadership of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. Both Americans and Filipino nationalists besieged Manila, but the Spanish surrendered to the U.S. forces, which excluded Aguinaldo's forces from the capital.

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

United Kingdom, U.S. Military Involvement in the

views updated Jun 08 2018

United Kingdom, U.S. Military Involvement in the. Following the U.S. entry into World War II, the United Kingdom became a springboard for Allied bombing offensives against the Axis countries as well as the assembly point for Allied invasion forces prior to the D‐Day landing (1944). A series of Anglo‐American military operations, such as the North Africa Campaign, paved the way for D‐Day and the final assault on Germany in June 1944. The joint U.S.British invasion of Normandy (Operation Overlord) marked the largest combined operation in the history of warfare. By 11 days after D‐Day, 641,170 British, Canadians, and Americans had crossed the English Channel and landed in northwest France. The United Kingdom's role as a deployment base for operations on the Continent was to continue after the war when, in Churchill's words, the United Kingdom became an unsinkable aircraft carrier for U.S. forces.

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.

Simon Duke

Korea, U.S. Military Involvement in

views updated Jun 11 2018

Korea, U.S. Military Involvement in. U.S. military involvement began almost from the outset as the United States sought in the mid‐nineteenth century to establish commercial and diplomatic relations with the so‐called “Hermit Kingdom.” After a number of Korean attacks on American merchant ships trying to penetrate the peninsula, a U.S. naval squadron of launched an unsuccessful punitive assault near Seoul (1871). China soon gained control of Korea and opened it to other countries, beginning in 1882 with the United States. In the Sino‐Japanese War (1894–95) and the Russo‐Japanese War (1904–05), Tokyo increasingly took over Korea, which became part of the Japanese empire, 1905–45.

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

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United States Military Involvement

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Updated Aug 08 2016 About content Print Topic


United States Military Involvement