November 11, 2014 / by admin / American History / No Comments

The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (50th Anniversary Edition)

The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (50th Anniversary Edition)

William Appleman Williams

Language: English

Pages: 384

ISBN: 0393334740

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


“A brilliant book on foreign affairs.”―Adolf A. Berle Jr., New York Times Book Review

This incisive interpretation of American foreign policy ranks as a classic in American thought. First published in 1959, the book offered an analysis of the wellsprings of American foreign policy that shed light on the tensions of the Cold War and the deeper impulses leading to the American intervention in Vietnam. William Appleman Williams brilliantly explores the ways in which ideology and political economy intertwined over time to propel American expansion and empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The powerful relevance of Williams’s interpretation to world politics has only been strengthened by recent events in Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. Williams allows us to see that the interests and beliefs that once sent American troops into Texas and California, or Latin America and East Asia, also propelled American forces into Iraq.

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convinced by the more favorable analysis of foreign capitalism, but they doubted that the Western nations, and in particular the United States, would help the Soviet Union solve its reconstruction problems. Hence they concluded that Russia would have to establish a basic security perimeter in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and once again pull itself up by its own bootstraps. Opposed to the softies and the conservatives was a group which may be called the doctrinaire revolutionaries. The

Clement Attlee told Truman that the question uppermost in his mind was a fundamental one: “Am I to plan for a peaceful or a warlike world?” Attlee’s subsequent visit to Washington in November 1946, was clearly undertaken to influence Truman to take the former course in connection with atomic energy, and had some effect. This British pressure has to be credited in any assessment of American action. Finally, Stimson’s memorandum bears directly, and in two ways, on the whole question of American

American diplomatic historians were not multi-archival when it came to their nation’s records, and were overly dependent on certain political files in State Department records. Williams seemed to take a particular delight in tweaking liberal sensibilities and turning everything topsy-turvy. Given his insistence that Tragedy was an essay, however, one could come away from reading it with a feeling that he was, at times, asking readers to disagree in order to get a seminar discussion going. He was

our factories  .  .  .  or we must depend upon the exploitation of foreign countries for the relief of our congested home markets.” All such economic spokesmen, as well as the majority of the political figures who opposed Wilson, stressed expansion of the American economic system, as well as the enlargement of their own particular operations. But they were less immediately concerned with the political and ideological aspects of that imperial growth. They generally assumed that those features of

he never considered the kind of an entente sought by the Russians, as was indicated by his persistent refusal to respond to their overtures for a nonaggression pact with China and the Soviet Union. Short-term as well as traditional long-run economic considerations also played an important role in Roosevelt’s dramatic moves to improve and regularize relations with Latin America. The Good Neighbor Policy was infused with the tone and substance of noblesse oblige and announced in the rhetoric of

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