In the years 1953-60, President Eisenhowers cold war diplomacy was based on confrontation rather than coexistence; How far do you agree with this view?

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In the years 1953-60, President Eisenhower’s cold war diplomacy was based on confrontation rather than coexistence; How far do you agree with this view?

In the years of his presidency Dwight D. Eisenhower had to make a whole lot of complicated decisions some of which were headed towards peaceful coexistence with USSR, while others were clearly targeted against the Soviet Union. With the death of Stalin in 1953 it became possible to think of peaceful coexistence for the first time, as the new leader of the Soviet Party would emerge. Almost straight after his death signing Korean armistice in July 1953 did the first step towards peaceful coexistence. Even though new leader Nikita Khrushchev pledged to “bury Western capitalism”, he rejected inevitability of war and pursued peaceful coexistence. As a result of that Geneva summit in October 1955 was the first time Superpowers spoke of peaceful coexistence, which was certainly a breakthrough. Spirit of Geneva eased the relations and by the end of the 50’s several Western leaders had visited Moscow and Khrushchev had toured the U.S., further talks on peaceful coexistence and even possible mutual disarmament were made at Camp David. This new understanding was supposed to be cemented in 1960 with the Paris summit conference, however the U2 incident preceded it at the root. Eisenhower would not apologize and relations deteriorated thereafter. All effort put into peaceful coexistence over almost a decade suddenly became invalid.

On the other side of the coin there were many frankly confrontational moments in the 50’s reaching the crisis point in the eventful year of 1956. From the beginning of his presidency Eisenhower adopted a ‘New Look’ – policy headed towards getting tougher on the Soviets, expanding CIA, increasing military spending and not allowing communism to spread around the world, which is definitely confrontational (at least seen so by the Soviets). U2 incident shows that despite all agreements made in the previous years, really U.S. and U.S.S.R. didn’t have trustworthy relations by 1960. Wherever Eisenhower’s diplomacy was headed, by 1960 relations with the Soviet Union seem to be much more incisive than in 1953, while no real agreement on peaceful coexistence was reached in the period 1953-60.

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Eisenhower’s arrival to the office prompted a re-examination of how the United States should respond to the International Communism – the ‘New Look’, the main objective of which was to prevent the spread of communism outside the areas where it was already established. Seemingly new and suddenly confrontational policy is really a continuation of Truman’s policy against communism. Americans continued to act in a similar way (building up the web of anti-Soviet alliances designed to encircle the Soviet Union and stop the spread of communism), and the only real difference was an increased reliance on nuclear weapons. Eisenhower threatened ...

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