Conference Program


85th Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History

 Landscapes of War and Peace

April 5 - 8, 2018, Louisville, Kentucky


Title: Efforts for Peace During the Second Half of the Cold War
Abstract: This panel explores efforts to initiate peace around the world during the second half of the cold war between 1966 and 1990. It does this by looking at individuals and their efforts, diplomatic methods, and national strategies involved in peace efforts that navigated the demands of the Cold War environment. The first panelist investigates the intellectual interactions between Bernard Fall and Senator J. William Fulbright and how Fall contributed to Fulbright's resolution of American intervention in Vietnam. The second panelist explore Ronald Reagan's efforts to create a multinational force to keep peace in Lebanon from 1982 to 1984. It focuses on the different places Lebanon played in British and American strategic thinking. The last panelist focuses on the reunification of Germany as a final part of the WWII peace process and its role as part of the end of the Cold War. Combined these presentations explore the ways that Cold War ideologies and strategic thinking influenced peace efforts in the late Cold war.
 
Samantha Taylor, United States Naval War College
Participant's Paper Title: German Reunification and Peace Dividends at the Beginning of the End of the Cold War
Participant's Paper Abstract: The reunification of Germany occurred at a time the Cold War environment was experiencing international political and diplomatic changes after a period of increased tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. It occurred as the Soviet Union and the United States were led by men that diverged with patterns of their predecessors. Even so, Mikhail Gorbachev and George H. W. Bush were still beholden to Cold War ideologies and strategies. As these two leaders managed a period of decreased tensions, Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika reforms weakened the Soviet Union's influence and military presence in Eastern Europe encouraging those nations to adopt non-communist governments. In this environment, the Berlin Wall separating East and West Germany was opened on 9 November 1989. The successful reunification of Germany and continuation of Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika reforms in the Soviet Union rested Bush's ability to get the former WWII Allies to successfully cooperate.

Germany's reunification would not only end the Allies occupation of Germany, and establish a WWII peace settlement with Germany. It also played an important role in the opening of the Iron Curtain between the East and West. This paper argues that the George H. W. Bush's diplomatic skills maneuvered competing interests and concerns among Britain, France, and the Soviet Union to successfully settle Germany's reunification. This paper focuses on Bush's to create consensus among the former Allied, despite continued Cold War strategic ideologies and fears of the possible repercussions Eastern instability and German reunification could have on the reforms occurring in the Soviet Union, and the move of Eastern European countries to non-communist governments. Bush's efforts also created a peace settlement between the former Allied and the two Germanys for WWII, completing a peace process stalled forty-five years before by the beginning of the Cold War.
Nathaniel Moir, SUNY
Participant's Paper Title: "Bernard Fall, J. William Fulbright, and the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearings on Vietnam, 1966-1967"
Participant's Paper Abstract: This project investigates the intellectual interactions between Bernard Fall and Senator J. William Fulbright and how Fall contributed to Fulbright's resolution of American intervention in Vietnam. Fulbright' assessment of US Policy regarding Vietnam, as demonstrated during the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings in 1966 and 1967, changed dramatically after his initial support for the 1964 Tonkin Gulf Resolution. I argue that Fall, an astute critic of American intervention in Vietnam, informed and enlightened Fulbright's views on American efforts in Indochina. In turn, Fulbright's hearings not only analyzed the efforts of the Johnson administration to counter Vietnamese Revolutionary Warfare, but also prepared the United States for the discarding of containment and the later period of détente with the Peoples' Republic of China. Working within the context of Fall's and Fulbright's relationship between 1965 and Fall's death in February 1967, I utilize archival sources found in the Bernard B. Fall Papers at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library to argue that the intellectual camaraderie fostered between these individuals, along with Walter Lippman, contributed to a transitional period of consequence in and beyond 1967. Currently, virtually no literature exists which considers how this Fulbright scholar (Bernard Fall) helped inform his academic sponsor's (Fulbright) perspectives on momentous policy decisions. In an important respect, Bernard Fall epitomized what Fulbright intended to achieve through the academic program bearing his name. This project seeks, therefore, to elucidate and contextualize the intellectual domain of the Fulbright-led US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings, as well as interconnections between US Senate policy considerations in 1967 and critiques of such policy, as it sought to resolve the Vietnam War.
Max von Bargen, The Ohio State University
Participant's Paper Title: British and American Grand Strategy and Peacekeeping in Lebanon, 1982-1984
Participant's Paper Abstract: United States President Ronald Reagan's initiative to establish a peacekeeping force in Lebanon in 1982 would become controversial following the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut. Americans remember the 1983 bombing, which led to the withdrawal of the Multinational Force in Lebanon, primarily as an outcome of American policy because the United States took the lead in crafting peacekeeping policy in Lebanon.
Yet the Multinational Force was, as its name implies, a group effort, and working closely with America's allies was a crucial element in Reagan's policy for peacekeeping in Lebanon. Given that much has been made over the years of the "Special Relationship" between Great Britain and the United States, and Reagan's particularly close relationship with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, one might expect Britain to have been a major contributor to the Multinational Force. However, although they did contribute to the Multinational Force, theirs was one of the smallest and least enthusiastic contributions.
This paper seeks to put both British and American policymaking towards the peacekeeping effort in Lebanon into their strategic context. While the barracks bombing and the retaliatory strikes that followed will receive their due attention, this paper will also look more broadly at how British and American policymakers saw the Lebanon conflict. It will investigate the strategic logic that underpinned the Reagan administration's diplomacy in the region, the Multinational Force's creation, and the administration's response to the bombing. It will also explore the British government's attitude to the Lebanon crisis and seek to explain the level of British participation in the Multinational Force. Finally, it will seek out connections between British and American Middle East policy and their foreign policies in other key areas around the globe.
Nicholas Murray, United States Naval War College



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