Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


War and Society

First Advisor

Gregory A. Daddis, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Lori Cox Han, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Robert Slayton, Ph.D.


This thesis analyzes how Eisenhower defined war and its utility in his New Look defense policy and the ramifications for America’s interactions with the world through its foreign policy. It argues that Eisenhower redefined the relationship between war and society as he executed his grand strategy, further removing society from the decision for war. To avoid what he believed to be the inevitable global destruction of a general war turned nuclear, Eisenhower broadened the scope of ‘war” to balance domestic opinion for containing communism while also avoiding the devastating consequences of war in American society. By authorizing coups in Iran and Guatemala, Eisenhower blurred the line between coercive diplomacy and violent political warfare. President Eisenhower’s reliance on covert action to achieve political outcomes prevented general or nuclear war but it strengthened an emerging model for society’s relationship with war. Political warfare and covert action increased the gap between society and the commitment of American power during the Cold War. In his effort to prevent war, Eisenhower expanded presidential power and set a precedent that continues today.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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