Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy Since 1938 (Hist of the USA) (v. 8)

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9780140212471: Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy Since 1938 (Hist of the USA) (v. 8)


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About the Author:

Stephen Ambrose and Douglas Brinkley are both Professors of History at the University of New Orleans.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page





Chapter 1 - The Twisting Path to War

Chapter 2 - The War in Europe

Chapter 3 - The War in Asia

Chapter 4 - The Beginnings of the Cold War

Chapter 5 - The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan

Chapter 6 - Containment Tested

Chapter 7 - Korea

Chapter 8 - Eisenhower, Dulles, and the Irreconcilable Conflict

Chapter 9 - From Hungary and Suez to Cuba

Chapter 10 - Kennedy and the New Frontiers

Chapter 11 - Vietnam: Paying the Cost of Containment

Chapter 12 - Nixon, Détente, and the Debacle in Vietnam

Chapter 13 - America in the Middle East and Africa

Chapter 14 - Carter and Human Rights

Chapter 15 - Reagan and the Evil Empire

Chapter 16 - The End of the Cold War

Chapter 17 - Bush and the Gulf War

Chapter 18 - Clinton and Democratic Enlargement

Chapter 19 - Clinton and the New Post-Cold War Order

Chapter 20 - The Tragedy of September 11, 2001

Chapter 21 - After the Attack and Into Iraq


Suggestions for Further Reading




STEPHEN E. AMBROSE (1936-2002) was born in Decatur, Illinois. He received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 1956, an M.A. from Louisiana State University in 1957, and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Wisconsin in 1963. A longtime professor of history at the University of New Orleans, Ambrose wrote numerous books on military affairs and foreign policy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including biographies of Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. His most recent books—D-Day, Undaunted Courage, and Band of Brothers —were mainstays on the New York Times bestseller list.


DOUGLAS G. BRINKLEY is a professor of history at Rice University and a fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. He is the award-winning author of twenty-five books, including The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter’s Journey Beyond the White House; Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company, and a Century of Progress; Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War; Gerald R. Ford; and The Reagan Diaries. A longtime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, he lives in the Texas towns of Austin and Galveston.



Upton and the Army
Halleck: Lincoln’s Chief of Staff
Ike’s Spies: Eisenhower and the Espionage Establishment
Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors
Eisenhower and Berlin, 1945: The Decision to Halt at the Elbe
Duty, Honor, Country: A History of West Point
The Supreme Commander: The War Years of Dwight D. Eisenhower
Eisenhower: Soldier, General, President-Elect, 1890-1952
Eisenhower: The President
Pegasus Bridge: June 6, 1944
Nixon: The Education of a Politician, 1913-1962
Nixon: The Triumph of a Politician, 1962-1972
Nixon: The Ruin and Recovery of a Politician, 1973-1990
Eisenhower: Soldier and President
Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from
Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle Nest
Undaunted Courage





Jean Monnet: Path to European Unity (ed.)
Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years
Dean Acheson and the Making of U.S. Foreign Policy
Driven Patriot: The Life and Time of James Forrestal (coauthor)
The Majic Bus: An American Odyssey
FDR and the Creation of the United Nations (coauthor)
The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter’s Journey Beyond the White House
Gerald R. Ford
The Boys of Pointe du Hoc
The Reagan Diaries
Wheels for the World: Henry Ford and a Century of Progress
The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade of America

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Rise to Globalism by Stephen E. Ambrose first published in Penguin Books 1971 Eighth revised edition by Stephen E. Ambrose and Douglas Brinkley published 1997 This ninth revised edition by Douglas Brinkley published 2011



Copyright © Stephen E. Ambrose, 1971, 1976, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1988, 1991, 1993

Copyright © Stephen E. Ambrose and Douglas Brinkley, 1997

Copyright © Douglas Brinkley, 2011

All rights reserved


Ambrose, Stephen E.
Rise to globalism : American foreign policy since 1938 / Stephen E. Ambrose
and Douglas G. Brinkley.—9th rev. ed.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.

eISBN : 978-1-101-50129-0

1. United States—Foreign relations—1933-1945. 2. United States—Foreign relations—1945-1989
3. United States—Foreign relations—1989- I. Brinkley, Douglas. II. Title.
E744.A.73—dc22 2010033860




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For Alexander, Cornia, and Stephen Riley.
May they know only peace.


IN 1939, ON THE EVE OF WORLD WAR II, THE UNITED STATES HAD AN army of 185,000 men with an annual budget of less than $500 million. America had no entangling alliances and no American troops were stationed in any foreign country. The dominant political mood was isolationism. America’s physical security, the sine qua non of foreign policy, seemed assured, not because of American alliances or military strength but because of the distance between America and any potential enemy.

A half century later the United States had a huge standing Army, Air Force, and Navy. The budget of the Department of Defense was over $300 billion. The United States had military alliances with fifty nations, over a million soldiers, airmen, and sailors stationed in more than 100 countries, and an offensive capability sufficient to destroy the world many times over. It had used military force to intervene in Indochina, Lebanon, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Central America, and the Persian Gulf, supported an invasion of Cuba, distributed enormous quantities of arms to friendly governments around the world, and fought costly wars in Korea and Vietnam. But despite all the money spent on armaments and no matter how far outward America extended her power, America’s national security was constantly in jeopardy.

By 1993, however, the Soviet Union was gone, there were no military threats to the United States, and the American armed forces were shrinking. America’s overseas concerns were no longer the armies and missiles of the communist superpower, but access to raw materials and markets and concern over small nations causing major upheavals, plus the trade policies of its World War II enemies, Germany and Japan. America had won the Cold War and was once again, as in 1939, turning away from the world.

Shifts in attitudes accompanied these bewildering changes in policy. Before World War II most Americans believed in a natural harmony of interests between nations, assumed that there was a common commitment to peace, and argued that no nation or people could profit from a war. These beliefs implied that peace was the normal condition between states and that war, if it came, was an aberration resulting from the irrational acts of evil or psychotic men. It was odd that a nation that had come into existence through a victorious war, gained large portions of its territory through war, established its industrial revolution and national unity through a bloody civil war, and won a colonial empire through war could believe that war profited no one. Yet most Americans in the 1930s did so believe.

During and after World War II, Americans changed their attitudes. They did not come to relish war, but they did learn to accept it. They also became aware of their own vulnerability, which supported the post-Pearl Harbor belief that threats had to be met early and overseas. After World War I, the United States had adopted a policy of unilateral disarmament and neutrality as a way to avoid another war. After World War II, the nation adopted a policy of massive rearmament and collective security as a way to avoid another war. That meant stationing troops and missiles overseas.

Technological change, especially in military weapons, gave added impetus to the new expansionism. For the first time in its history the United States could be threatened from abroad. High-speed ships, long-range bombers, jet aircraft, atomic weapons, and eventually intercontinential missiles all combined to endanger the physical security of the United States.

Simultaneously, America became vulnerable to foreign economic threats. An increasingly complex economy, coupled with the tremendous economic boom of the postwar years maintained by cheap energy, made America increasingly dependent on foreign sources.

And so, the irony. America had far more military power in the early 1990s than she had had in the late thirties, but she was less secure. America was far richer in the nineties than she had been during the Depression, but also more vulnerable to economic blackmail.

It was an unexpected outcome. At the conclusion of World War II, America was on a high. In all the world only the United States had a healthy economy, an intact physical plant capable of mass production of goods, and excess capital. American troops occupied Japan, the only important industrial power in the Pacific, while American influence was dominant in France, Britain, and West Germany, the industrial heart of Europe. The Pacific and the Mediterranean had become American lakes. Above all, the United States had a monopoly on the atomic bomb.

Yet there was no peace. The Cold War came about because the United States and the U.S.S.R. were deeply suspicious of each other, and with good reason. Economic rivalry and ideological differences helped fuel the rivalry, but another important factor was the pace of scientific and technological change in the postwar period. Nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them became the pivot around which much of the Cold War revolved. The fear that its opponents would move ahead on this or that weapons system drove each nation to make an all-out effort in the arms race. In the United States the resulting growth of the armed services and their suppliers—the military-industrial complex—gave generals, admirals, and industrialists new sources of power, leading to a situation in which Americans tended to find military solutions to political problems. Not until the late sixties did large numbers of Americans learn the costly lesson that the power to destroy is not the power to control.

The United States of the Cold War period, like ancient Rome, was concerned with all political problems in the world. The loss of even one country to Communism, therefore, while not in itself a threat to American physical security, carried implications that officials in Washington found highly disturbing. In the early sixties, few important officials argued that South Vietnam was essential to the defense of the United States, but the attitude that “we have to prove that wars of national liberation don’t work” (a curious attitude for the children of the American Revolution to hold) did carry the day.

America’s rise to globalism was by no means mindless, nor was it exclusively a reaction to the Communist challenge or a response to economic needs. A frequently heard expression during World War II was that “America has come of age.” Americans had a sense of power, of bigness, of destiny. They had saved the world from Hitler; now they would save the world from Stalin. In the process, American influence and control would expand. During World War II, Henry Luce of Life magazine spoke for most political leaders as well as American businessmen, soldiers, and the public generally when he said that the twentieth century would be “the American century.” Politicians looked for areas in which American influence could dominate. Businessmen looked for profitable markets and new sources of cheap raw materials; the military looked for overseas bases. All found what they wanted as America inaugurated a program of expansion that had no inherent limits.

Americans launched a crusade for freedom that would be complete only when freedom reigned everywhere. Conservatives like Senator Robert Taft doubted that such a goal was obtainable, and old New Dealers like Henry Wallace argued that it could only be achieved at the cost of domestic reform. But most politicians and nearly all businessmen and soldiers signed on as crusaders.

While America’s businessmen, soldiers, and politicians moved into South and Central America, Europe, and Southeast Asia, her leaders rarely paused to wonder if there were limits to American power. The disorderly expansion and the astronomical growth of areas defined as constituting a vital American interest seemed to Washington, Wall Street, and the Pentagon to be entirely normal and natural. Almost no important public figure argued that the nation was overextended, just as no one could suggest any attitude toward Communism other than unrelieved hostility.

But ultimately, military reality put limits on American expansion. At no time after 1945 was the United States capable of destroying Russia or her allies without taking on totally unacceptable risks herself; at no time was the United States able to establish an imperial dominion. The crusade against Communism, therefore, took the form of containment rather than attack. As a policy, containment, with its implication of an acceptance of a permanently divided world, led to widely felt frustration. These frustrations were deepened by self-imposed constraint on the use of force in Korea, Vietnam, and elsewhere.

The failure of containment in Indochina led to another basic shift in attitude toward America’s role in the world. I...

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Stephen E. Ambrose
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Stephen E. Ambrose
Published by Penguin Books (1976)
ISBN 10: 0140212477 ISBN 13: 9780140212471
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1

Book Description Penguin Books, 1976. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 3rd. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0140212477

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