Military Crisis Management: U.S. Intervention in the Dominican Republic, 1965

By Herbert G. Schoonmaker | Go to book overview
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this had been made possible by the U.S. Army's foreign student program in service schools, the establishment of military advisory groups and missions throughout Latin America, the attaché system, and the U.S. Army School of the Americas in the Panama Canal Zone. These agencies, although not completely succeeding in turning the Latin American military into professional apolitical elements on the U.S. model, had, however, contributed to creating forces that, as in the Dominican crisis, remained, General Palmer believed, "the only effective indigenous force capable of preventing a return to the chaos and mob rule of April 1965 or of countering a seizure of power by Leftist extremists following the withdrawal of the IAPF." 28

As the IAPF arrived in the Dominican Republic the U.S. forces departed so that by October 1965 American troops numbered only about 8,500. By mid-January 1966 the IAPF consisted of two brigades with about one-third of the troops from Latin American countries, and in June, after the elections, the OAS ministerial council passed a resolution calling for the withdrawal from the Dominican Republic of the 8,200-man peace force within three months. The troops began leaving on I July and the last of the 6,800 U.S. troops of the force left the Dominican Republic on 19 September. Operations of the IAPF formally ended one day later.29

On 14 September as the U.S. troops were leaving, Dominican terrorists killed two U.S. soldiers, bringing the total of U.S. killed in action to twenty-seven. There were 172 U.S. troops wounded in action, twenty non-combat U.S. dead, seventeen Latin American troops wounded in action, and one Latin American non-combat dead. This brought the total IAPF casualties to 237. The financial cost to the United States for both humanitarian and military-related costs was about $311 million. For the Dominicans the costs of the civil war in terms of lives lost has been estimated at a minimum of three thousand killed. Even critics of the intervention agree, however, that had not the United States stepped in to end the hostilities, the Dominican loss of life would have been much higher. The government that emerged after the intervention has been relatively stable and the country relatively prosperous. This has resulted in part from the achievements of the negotiated settlement ending the civil war, in part from the continued interest of the United States in this neighboring country, and mostly from the Dominican people themselves who have been able to solve many of their political, economic, and social problems in an environment free from political chaos. 30

Slater, Intervention and Negotiation, p. 56.
Martin, Overtaken by Events, pp. 681-684, Mansbach, Dominican Crisis 1965, pp. 49, 51, 56; Slater, Intervention and Negotiation, p. 63; Yale H. Ferguson, "The Dominican Intervention of 1965; Recent Interpretations," International Organization (Autumn 1973), p. 531.
Szulc, Dominican Diary, p. 147; Ringler and Shaw, U.S. Marine Corps Operations in the Dominican Republic, April- June 1965, p. 54.


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