|51st United States Secretary of State|
January 21, 1949 –January 20, 1953
|President||Harry S. Truman|
|Preceded by||George Marshall|
|Succeeded by||John Foster Dulles|
|United States Under Secretary of State|
August 16,1945 –June 30,1947
|President||Harry S. Truman|
|Preceded by||Joseph Grew|
|Succeeded by||Robert A. Lovett|
|Assistant Secretary of State for Congressional Relations and International Conferences|
December 20,1944 –August 15,1945
|President|| Franklin D. Roosevelt |
Harry S. Truman
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by|| Ernest A. Gross (Legislative Affairs)|
Dean Rusk (International Organization Affairs)
Dean Gooderham Acheson
|Died||October 12,1971 78) (aged|
|Resting place||Oak Hill Cemetery|
|Education|| Yale University (BA)|
Harvard University (LLB)
|Branch/service||United States National Guard|
|Battles/wars||World War I|
Dean Gooderham Acheson (pronounced // ; April 11,1893 –October 12,1971) was an American statesman and lawyer. As the 51st U.S. Secretary of State,he set the foreign policy of the Harry S. Truman administration from 1949 to 1953. He was Truman's main foreign policy advisor from 1945 to 1947,especially regarding the Cold War. Acheson helped design the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan,as well as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. He was in private law practice from July 1947 to December 1948. After 1949 Acheson came under partisan political attack from Republicans led by Senator Joseph McCarthy over Truman's policy toward the People's Republic of China.
As a private citizen in 1968 he counseled President Lyndon B. Johnson to negotiate for peace with North Vietnam. During the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962,President John F. Kennedy called upon Acheson for advice,bringing him into the executive committee (ExComm),a strategic advisory group.
Dean Gooderham Acheson was born in Middletown,Connecticut,on April 11,1893. His father,Edward Campion Acheson,was an English-born Canadian (immigrated to Canada in 1881) who,after serving in The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada during the North-West Rebellion of 1885,became a Church of England priest after graduating from Wycliffe College and moved to the U.S.,eventually becoming Bishop of Connecticut. His mother,Eleanor Gertrude (Gooderham),was a Canadian-born descendant of William Gooderham,Sr. (1790–1881),a founder of the Gooderham and Worts Distillery of Toronto. Like his father,Acheson was a staunch Democrat and opponent of prohibition.
Acheson attended Groton School and Yale College (1912–1915),where he joined Scroll and Key Society,was elected to Phi Beta Kappa,and was a brother of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Phi chapter). At Groton and Yale he had the reputation of a partier and prankster;he was somewhat aloof but still popular with his classmates. Acheson's well-known,reputed arrogance—he disdained the curriculum at Yale as focusing on memorizing subjects already known or not worth knowing more about—was apparent early. At Harvard Law School from 1915 to 1918,however,he was swept away by the intellect of professor Felix Frankfurter and finished fifth in his class.
On May 15,1917,while serving in the National Guard,Acheson married Alice Caroline Stanley (August 12,1895 –January 20,1996). She loved painting and politics and served as a stabilizing influence throughout their enduring marriage;they had three children:David Campion Acheson,Jane Acheson Brown and Mary Eleanor Acheson Bundy.
On July 25,1918,Acheson was commissioned as an ensign in the Naval Reserve and served with the Naval Overseas Transportation Service until he was released from active duty on December 31 of the same year.
At that time,a new tradition of bright law students clerking for the U.S. Supreme Court had been begun by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis,for whom Acheson clerked for two terms from 1919 to 1921. Frankfurter and Brandeis were close associates,and future Supreme Court Justice Frankfurter suggested that Brandeis take on Acheson.
Throughout his long career,Acheson displayed:
A lifelong Democrat,Acheson worked at a law firm in Washington D.C.,Covington &Burling,often dealing with international legal issues before Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed him Undersecretary of the Treasury in March 1933. When Secretary William H. Woodin fell ill,Acheson suddenly found himself acting secretary despite his ignorance of finance. Because of his opposition to FDR's plan to deflate the dollar by controlling gold prices (thus creating inflation),he was forced to resign in November 1933 and resumed his law practice.In 1939–1940 he headed a committee to study the operation of administrative bureaus in the federal government.
Brought back as assistant secretary of state on February 1,1941,Acheson implemented much of United States economic policy aiding Great Britain and harming the Axis Powers.Acheson implemented the Lend-Lease policy that helped re-arm Great Britain and the American/British/Dutch oil embargo that cut off 95 percent of Japanese oil supplies and escalated the crisis with Japan in 1941. Roosevelt froze all Japanese assets merely to disconcert them. He did not intend the flow of oil to Japan to cease. The president then departed Washington for Newfoundland to meet with Churchill. While he was gone Acheson used those frozen assets to deny Japan oil. Upon the president's return,he decided it would appear weak and appeasing to reverse the de facto oil embargo.
In 1944,Acheson attended the Bretton Woods Conference as the head delegate from the State department. At this conference the post-war international economic structure was designed. The conference was the birthplace of the International Monetary Fund,the World Bank,and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade,the last of which would evolve into the World Trade Organization.
Later, in 1945, Harry S. Truman selected Acheson as the Undersecretary of the United States Department of State; he retained this position working under Secretaries of State Edward Stettinius, Jr., James F. Byrnes, and George Marshall. And, as late as 1945 or 1946 Acheson sought détente with the Soviet Union. In 1946, as chairman of a special committee to prepare a plan for the international control of atomic energy, he wrote the Acheson–Lilienthal report. At first Acheson was conciliatory towards Joseph Stalin.
The Soviet Union's attempts at regional hegemony in Eastern Europe and in Southwest Asia, however, changed Acheson's thinking. From this point forward, one historian writes, "Acheson was more than 'present at the creation' of the Cold War; he was a primary architect."Acheson often found himself acting secretary during the secretary's frequent overseas trips, and during this period he cemented a close relationship with President Truman. Acheson devised the policy and wrote Truman's 1947 request to Congress for aid to Greece and Turkey, a speech which stressed the dangers of totalitarianism rather than Soviet aggression and marked the fundamental change in American foreign policy that became known as the Truman Doctrine.
Acheson designed the economic aid program to Europe that became known as the Marshall Plan. Acheson believed the best way to contain Stalin's Communism and prevent future European conflict was to restore economic prosperity to Western Europe, to encourage interstate cooperation there, and to help the U.S. economy by making its trading partners richer.
On June 30, 1947, Acheson received the Medal for Merit from President Truman.
In 1949, Acheson was appointed secretary of state. In this position he built a working framework for containment, first formulated by George Kennan, who served as the head of Acheson's Policy Planning Staff. Acheson was the main designer of the military alliance NATO, and signed the pact for the United States. The formation of NATO was a dramatic departure from historic American foreign policy goals of avoiding any "entangling alliances."
During the summer of 1949, after the unexpected Democratic victory in the 1948 elections did not quiet the question "Who Lost China?", Acheson had the State Department produce a study of recent Sino-American relations. The document known officially as United States Relations with China with Special Reference to the Period 1944–1949, which later was simply called the China White Paper , attempted to dismiss any misinterpretations of Chinese and American diplomacy toward each other.Published during the height of Mao Zedong's takeover, the 1,054 page document argued that American intervention in China was doomed to failure. Although Acheson and Truman had hoped that the study would dispel rumors and conjecture, the documents helped to convince many critics that the administration had indeed failed to check the spread of communism in China.
Acheson's speech on January 12, 1950, before the National Press Clubdid not mention the Korea Peninsula and Formosa (Taiwan) as part of the all-important "defense perimeter" of the United States. Since the war in Korea broke out on June 25, just a few months later, critics, especially in South Korea, took Acheson's statements to mean that the United States support for the new Syngman Rhee government in South Korea would be limited and that the speech provided Joseph Stalin and Kim Il-sung with a "green light" to believe the U.S. would not intervene if they invaded the South. As Soviet archives opened in the 1980s, however, research found that the speech had little if any impact on Communist deliberations.
With the Communist takeover of mainland China in 1949, that country switched from a close friend of the U.S. to a bitter enemy—the two powers were at war in Korea by 1950. Critics blamed Acheson for what they called the "loss of China" and launched several years of organized opposition to Acheson's tenure; Acheson ridiculed his opponents and called this period in his outspoken memoirs "The Attack of the Primitives". Although he maintained his role as a firm anti-communist, he was attacked by various anti-communists for not taking a more active role in attacking communism abroad and domestically, rather than hew to his policy of containment of communist expansion. Both he and Secretary of Defense George Marshall came under attack from men such as Joseph McCarthy; Acheson became a byword to some Americans, who tried to equate containment with appeasement. Congressman Richard Nixon, who later as president would call on Acheson for advice, ridiculed "Acheson's College of Cowardly Communist Containment". This criticism grew very loud after Acheson refused to "turn his back on Alger Hiss" when the latter was accused of being a Communist spy, and convicted of perjury for denying he was a spy.
In 1975, former U.S. Ambassador to Burma, Edwin W. Martin, accused Acheson of Eurocentrism and of making derogatory comments about Southeast Asians.
He retired on January 20, 1953, the last day of the Truman administration, and served on the Yale board of trustees along with Senator Robert A. Taft, one of his sharpest critics. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1955.
Acheson returned to his private law practice. Although his official governmental career was over, his influence was not. He was ignored by the Eisenhower administration but headed up Democratic Policy Groups in the late 1950s. Much of President John F. Kennedy's flexible response policies came from the position papers drawn up by this group.
Acheson's law offices were strategically located a few blocks from the White House and he accomplished much out of office. He became an unofficial advisor to the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, for example, he was dispatched by Kennedy to France to brief French President Charles de Gaulle and gain his support for the United States blockade. Acheson so strongly opposed the final decision merely to blockade that he resigned from the executive committee.
During the 1960s, he was a leading member of a bipartisan group of establishment elders known as The Wise Men, who initially supported the Vietnam War. As secretary of state, Acheson supported the French efforts to control Indochina as the necessary price for French support of NATO, and to contain communism. By 1968, however, his viewpoint had changed. President Johnson asked Acheson to reassess American military policy, and he decided that military victory was impossible. He advised Johnson to pull out as quickly as possible, to avoid a deepening division inside the Democratic Party. Johnson took Acheson's advice, in terms of de-escalating the war, and deciding not to run for reelection. Acheson distrusted Hubert Humphrey, and supported Richard Nixon for president in 1968. He provided advice to the Nixon administration through Henry Kissinger, focusing on NATO and on African affairs. He broke with Nixon in 1970 with the incursion into Cambodia.
In 1964, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, with Distinction. In 1970, he won the Pulitzer Prize for History for his memoirs of his tenure in the State Department, Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department . The Modern Library placed the book at #47 on its top 100 non-fiction books of the 20th century.
At 6:00 p.m. on October 12, 1971, Acheson died of a massive stroke, at his farm home in Sandy Spring, Maryland, at the age of 78. His body was found slumped over his desk in his study. Acheson was interred in Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown, Washington, DC.
He had a son, David C. Acheson (father of Eleanor D. Acheson), and two daughters, Jane Acheson Brown and Mary Acheson Bundy, wife of William Bundy.
John Foster Dulles was an American diplomat, lawyer, and Republican Party politician. He served as United States Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1959 and was briefly a Republican U.S. Senator for New York in 1949. He was a significant figure in the early Cold War era, advocating an aggressive stance against communism throughout the world.
The Truman Doctrine is an American foreign policy that originated with the primary goal of containing Soviet geopolitical expansion during the Cold War. It was announced to Congress by President Harry S. Truman on March 12, 1947, and further developed on July 4, 1948, when he pledged to contain the communist uprisings in Greece and Turkey. Direct American military force was usually not involved, but Congress appropriated financial aid to support the economies and militaries of Greece and Turkey. More generally, the Truman Doctrine implied American support for other nations thought to be threatened by Soviet communism. The Truman Doctrine became the foundation of American foreign policy, and led, in 1949, to the formation of NATO, a military alliance that still exists. Historians often use Truman's speech to date the start of the Cold War.
George Frost Kennan was an American diplomat and historian. He was best known as an advocate of a policy of containment of Soviet expansion during the Cold War. He lectured widely and wrote scholarly histories of the relations between the USSR and the United States. He was also one of the group of foreign policy elders known as "The Wise Men".
Containment is a geopolitical strategic foreign policy pursued by the United States. It is loosely related to the term cordon sanitaire which was later used to describe the geopolitical containment of the Soviet Union in the 1940s. The strategy of "containment" is best known as a Cold War foreign policy of the United States and its allies to prevent the spread of communism after the end of World War II.
United States Objectives and Programs for National Security, better known as NSC 68, was a 66-page top secret National Security Council (NSC) policy paper drafted by the Department of State and Department of Defense and presented to President Harry S. Truman on 7 April 1950. It was one of the most important American policy statements of the Cold War. In the words of scholar Ernest R. May, NSC 68 "provided the blueprint for the militarization of the Cold War from 1950 to the collapse of the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1990s." NSC 68 and its subsequent amplifications advocated a large expansion in the military budget of the United States, the development of a hydrogen bomb, and increased military aid to allies of the United States. It made the rollback of global Communist expansion a high priority. NSC 68 rejected the alternative policies of friendly détente and containment of the Soviet Union.
Robert Abercrombie Lovett was the fourth United States Secretary of Defense, having been promoted to this position from Deputy Secretary of Defense. He served in the cabinet of President Harry S. Truman from 1951 to 1953 and in this capacity, directed the Korean War. As Under Secretary of State, he handled most of the tasks of the State Department while George C. Marshall was Secretary.
In political science, rollback is the strategy of forcing a change in the major policies of a state, usually by replacing its ruling regime. It contrasts with containment, which means preventing the expansion of that state; and with détente, which means a working relationship with that state. Most of the discussions of rollback in the scholarly literature deal with United States foreign policy toward Communist countries during the Cold War. The rollback strategy was tried and was not successful in Korea in 1950 and in Cuba in 1961, but it was successful in Grenada in 1983. The political leadership of the United States discussed the use of rollback during the uprising of 1953 in East Germany and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, but decided against it to avoid the risk of Soviet intervention or a major war.
The Point Four Program was a technical assistance program for "developing countries" announced by United States President Harry S. Truman in his inaugural address on January 20, 1949. It took its name from the fact that it was the fourth foreign policy objective mentioned in the speech.
Adrian Sanford Fisher was an American lawyer and federal public servant, who served from the late 1930s through the early 1980s. He was associated with the Department of War and Department of State throughout his professional career. He participated in the U.S. government's decision to carry out Japanese-American internment and the international (1945–46) Nuremberg trial, and in State Department Cold War activities during the Harry S. Truman administration. He was the State Department Legal Adviser under Secretary of State Dean Acheson. During the John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter administrations, Fisher was directly involved in the negotiations of international nuclear testing and non-proliferation agreements.
The Report on the International Control of Atomic Energy was written by a committee chaired by Dean Acheson and David Lilienthal in 1946 and is generally known as the Acheson–Lilienthal Report or Plan. The report was an important American document that appeared just before the start of the early Cold War. It proposed the international control of nuclear weapons and the avoidance of future nuclear warfare. A version, the Baruch Plan, was vetoed by the USSR at the UN.
This is an English language bibliography of scholarly books and articles on the Cold War. Because of the extent of the Cold War, the conflict is well documented.
The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made is a non-fiction book authored by Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas. Published by Simon & Schuster in 1986, it describes the actions of a group of U.S. federal government officials and members of the East Coast foreign policy establishment. Starting in the immediate post-World War II period, the group developed the containment policy of dealing with the Communist bloc during the Cold War. They also helped to craft institutions and initiatives such as NATO, the World Bank, and the Marshall Plan. An updated edition of the book was released in 2012.
This bibliography of Harry S. Truman is a selective list of scholarly works about Harry S. Truman, the thirty-third president of the United States (1945–1953).
Harry S. Truman's tenure as the 33rd president of the United States began on April 12, 1945, when Truman became president on his predecessor's death, and ended on January 20, 1953. He had been vice president for only 82 days when he succeeded to the presidency upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. A Democrat from Missouri, he ran for and won a full four–year term in the 1948 election. Although exempted from the newly-ratified Twenty-second Amendment, Truman did not run again in the 1952 election because of his low popularity. He was succeeded by Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower who had attacked Truman's failures.
The "loss of China" is in the United States political discourse the unexpected Chinese Communist Party takeover of mainland China from the American-backed Kuomintang in 1949 and therefore the "loss of China to communism."
The Turkish Straits crisis was a Cold War-era territorial conflict between the Soviet Union and Turkey. Turkey had remained officially neutral throughout most of the Second World War. When the war ended, Turkey was pressured by the Soviet government to allow Soviet shipping to flow freely through the Turkish Straits, which connected the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. As the Turkish government refused the Soviet Union's request, tensions arose in the region, leading to a Soviet show of naval force. The incident would later serve as a deciding factor in the issuing of the Truman Doctrine. At its climax, the tensions would cause Turkey to turn to the United States for protection through NATO membership.
Nathaniel Penistone Davis was an American career diplomat.
David Campion Acheson was an American attorney. Son of onetime United States Secretary of State Dean Acheson, he worked for the United States Atomic Energy Commission and served as an assistant to former Treasury Secretary Henry H. Fowler.
The main issues of the United States foreign policy during the 1945-1953 presidency of Harry S. Truman were working with Allies to bring victory over Germany and Japan, the aftermath of World War II, and the beginning of the Cold War, as well as launching new international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank. Harry S. Truman's presidency was a turning point in foreign affairs, as the United States engaged in an liberal internationalist foreign policy and renounced isolationism.
|Presentation by James Chace on Acheson: The Secretary of State Who Created the American World, September 16, 1998, C-SPAN|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Dean Acheson|