John Foster Dulles: A Statesman and His Times

John Foster Dulles: A Statesman and His Times

John Foster Dulles: A Statesman and His Times

John Foster Dulles: A Statesman and His Times

Excerpt

During his last days of suffering, in 1959, John Foster Dulles (1888-1959) reportedly requested a recording of several hymns and, night after night, found solace in the words of "The Spacious Firmament on High," "Work for the Night is Coming," and "Through the Night of Doubt and Sorrow," among others. The seeming implication of such a final scene tended to confirm the view that the Secretary of State was, after all, an extremely religious man, reared within and indelibly marked by the puritanical strain of American tradition. Almost every work on the subject of Dulles draws some attention to the idea that an understanding of the man and his policy preferences involves considerations of his religious home environment, strong religious convictions, a sense of Christian mission, and a subsequent universalization of and missionary zeal for American ideals.

John Foster Dulles, the elder son of a Presbyterian minister, has been frequently categorized as a type of cold war ideologue in his approach to international affairs or, at minimum, a statesman with a distorting pair of moral spectacles. Thorough investigation of his background, development, positions, and actions, however, disproves the notion that his pattern of interpreting policy issues and his policy preferences were derived from or distorted by either moralistic premises or strictly defined ideological considerations. The philosophical foundations of his views on human nature, on the inevitability of conflict and disharmony, on government, and on . . .

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