The Conversion of Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg: From Isolation to International Engagement

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University Press of Kentucky, Mar 24, 2015 - Biography & Autobiography - 320 pages
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The United States has looked inward throughout most of its history, preferring to avoid "foreign entanglements," as George Washington famously advised. After World War II, however, Americans became more inclined to break with the past and take a prominent place on the world stage. Much has been written about the influential figures who stood at the center of this transformation, but remarkably little attention has been paid to Arthur H. Vandenberg (1884--1951), who played a crucial role in moving the nation from its isolationist past to an internationalist future.

Vandenberg served as a U.S. senator from Michigan from 1928 to 1951 and was known in his early career for his fervent anti-interventionism. After 1945, he became heavily involved in the establishment of the United Nations and was a key player in the development of NATO. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during 1947 and 1948, Vandenberg helped rally support for President Truman's foreign policy -- including the Marshall Plan -- and his leadership contributed to a short-lived era of congressional bipartisanship regarding international relations.

In The Conversion of Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg, Lawrence S. Kaplan offers the first critical biography of the distinguished statesman. He demonstrates how Vandenberg's story provides a window on the political and cultural changes taking place in America as the country assumed a radically different role in the world, and makes a seminal contribution to the history of U.S. foreign policy during the initial years of the Cold War.


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1 Hamiltons Impact 19061928
2 The Republican Moderate 19281936
3 Toward Insulation 19341937
4 Isolationism Challenged 19381941
5 The Impact of World War 19411945
6 The Conversion Experience 1945
Photo insert
7 The Senator as Diplomat 19451946
9 Charter and Treaty 19481949
10 In Retrospect 19501951
Appendix 1
Appendix 2

8 The Senator as Statesman 19471948

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About the author (2015)

Lawrence S. Kaplan is emeritus director of the Lyman L. Lemnitzer Center for NATO and European Union Studies at Kent State University and a professorial lecturer in history at Georgetown University. He is the author or editor of more than two dozen books, including NATO Divided, NATO United: The Evolution of an Alliance and NATO 1948: The Birth of the Transatlantic Alliance.