Cold War Strategist: Stuart Symington and the Search for National Security

Cold War Strategist: Stuart Symington and the Search for National Security

Cold War Strategist: Stuart Symington and the Search for National Security

Cold War Strategist: Stuart Symington and the Search for National Security

Synopsis

This study of Cold War politics explores the attitudes of William Stuart Symington, a consummate Cold Warrior and Democratic senator from Missouri. The book focuses on his transition from being an avid supporter of the military and the CIA to his dovish position on the Vietnam War, as he questioned all foreign commitments, as well as military and CIA budgets. His ideas influenced presidential administrations ranging from Truman's to Nixon's. He exposed covert activity associated with the Vietnam War and worked to restore the constitutional balance between the executive and legislative branches of the government.

Excerpt

William Stuart Symington III served as a Democratic Senator representing the state of Missouri from 1953 until his retirement in 1976. His total government service spanned thirty-five years-crucial years during which American foreign policy, dominated by Cold War assumptions, developed worldwide commitments to check the spread of communism. Like most Americans in the post-World War II era, he viewed the Soviet Union with both fear and distrust and encouraged military preparedness to meet the communist threat and to ensure U.S. national security. He was intimately involved with American foreign policy in fighting the Cold War. in helping to formulate that policy, Symington was himself shaped by it.

For Stuart Symington and many political leaders of his generation, U.S. involvement in World War II and the diplomatic challenges of the postwar period provided a seminal experience and indelible lessons for future policy making. the ideology that guided the Allies against the Fascist dictators was easily transformed into a virulent anticommunism in the postwar period. World War II also encouraged in Symington a sense of moral superiority, because the battle pitted good against evil, a morality that shone even more pristine after 1945 when the United States worked for peace while the Soviet Union transgressed against its Eastern European neighbors and later menaced Greece and Turkey.

Having been in London during the German attacks that wreaked such horrible damage in 1941, Symington returned to the United States convinced that national security must have preeminence in the nation's foreign policy. a strong economy, technological development, and sound management could guarantee security with solvency. No matter what the cost, defense was the one place where budget constraints could not apply if the United States were to remain strong. Symington was absolutely convinced that the focus of this strength should be air power. As Assistant Secretary of War for Air from 1946 to 1947,

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.