Continuity and change in the United States' Soviet policy during the Carter and Reagan administrations

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ronnie Hugh Odom Jr. (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
Glenn Harris

Abstract: This thesis is a work of American intellectual history that attempts to explain how the foreign policy of the United States was concocted and shaped in the late 20th century. Specifically, it focuses on the end period of the Cold War from 1975 to 1985, and Soviet/American relations concerning the issues of détente, arms control, and national defense. It examines American social and political trends as causal forces that played a role in the United States’ policy turn against détente with the Soviet Union, and the turn toward a posture of confrontation by the late 1970s. Social trends included the changing mood and opinions of the American public, and the rise of a neo-conservative movement that increasingly relied on intellectuals, and think tanks, to promulgate and legitimize their ideas to the public and the political leadership simultaneously. These social, intellectual, and political trends were evolving constants, they developed irrespective of changes in White House leadership. As such, they account for many of the continuities in Soviet and national defense policy between the administrations of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Continuity and the evolving spectrum of change that occurred during these years is the other major theme of this thesis. The Carter and Reagan administrations are often thought of as having been dramatically different in their approaches to the Soviet Union. However, this thesis attempts to illuminate that between these two administrations there was an evolving strategy that led the United States to Cold War victory. A confluence of the domestic and the foreign, the governmental and the private, the social and the political accounted for the paradoxical changes and continuities during this time.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Masters of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Carter Jimmy 1924-, Reagan Ronald, Soviet Union--Foreign relations--United States, United States--Foreign relations--1977-1981, United States--Foreign relations--1981-1989, United States--Foreign relations--Soviet Union
United States -- Foreign relations -- Soviet Union
Soviet Union -- Foreign relations -- United States
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
Reagan, Ronald
United States -- Foreign relations -- 1977-1981
United States -- Foreign relations -- 1981-1989

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