A Genuine Departure: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Nonaligned World

Rakove, Robert Benjamin, Department of History, University of Virginia
Leffler, Melvyn, Department of History, University of Virginia

"A Genuine Departure: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Nonaligned World," presented by Robert Benjamin Rakove for the Doctor of Philosophy in History, September 22, 2008. From the outset of his presidency, John F. Kennedy initiated a bold effort to engage the leading states of the nonaligned world. Through a combination of economic aid, presidential diplomacy, and shifts in policy, Kennedy sought to improve the position of the United States in the nonaligned world at a critical moment in the Cold War. This policy was subsequently bequeathed to his successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson. Based upon archival research in the United States, Great Britain, France and Germany, this study chronicles broadly the course of the Kennedy/Johnson policy of engagement in the cases of a number of nonaligned states, most prominently Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia and Yugoslavia. After discussing the course of U.S.-nonaligned relations during the preceding Eisenhower period, it profiles the leading policymakers of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. The years 1961 and 1962 offered the Kennedy administration cause for optimism that the policy was bearing fruit. Four major factors, however, acted to derail the policy of engagement. As argued here, these included colonial conflicts and regional rivalries in Africa and Asia, the nettlesome politics of foreign aid, and the impact of the Vietnam War. By the end of his presidency, Lyndon Johnson had effectively abandoned the policy in all but name.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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