"The truth is our weapon": The relationship between rhetoric and *policy in Eisenhower administration diplomacy, 1953--1959
This dissertation explores the relationship between public rhetoric and confidential foreign policy decision-making during the Eisenhower administration. I argue that President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, confidentially vowed to pursue competitive coexistence with the Soviet Union and worked to reduce the chances. They secretly allowed the allies to drag their feet over the EDC, secretly disavowed efforts to liberate Eastern Europe militarily, and confidentially pursued the division of Germany. But they never publicized these policies. Instead, Eisenhower and Dulles tried to "educate" their allies to the nature of the Soviet threat with public, rhetorical diplomacy. They publicly pursued the ratification of the EDC and called for both the liberation of Eastern Europe and German reunification, but the policy backfired. Rhetorical diplomacy scared the allies and emboldened Moscow to act. The pursuit of the mutually exclusive strategies of rhetorical diplomacy and confidential restraint intensified the conflict between Washington and Moscow, strained the relationship between the United States and its allies, and increased the likelihood of war.