In Dueling Visions, Ronald R. Krebs argues that two different images of Eastern Europe’s ultimate status competed to guide American policy during this period: Finlandization and rollback. Rollback, championed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Central Intelligence Agency, was synonymous with liberation as the public understood it—detaching Eastern Europe form all aspects of Soviet control. Surprisingly, the figure most often linked to liberation—Secretary of State John Foster Dulles —came to advocated a more subtle and measure policy that neither accepted the status quo nor pursued rollback. This American vision for the region held up the model of Finland, imagining a tier of states that would enjoy domestic autonomy and perhaps even democracy but whose foreign policy would toe the Soviet line.
Krebs analyzes the conflicting logics and webs of assumptions underlying these dueling visions, and closely examines the struggles over these alternatives within the administration. Case studies of the American response to Stalin’s death and to the Soviet—Yugoslav rapprochement reveal the eventual triumph of Finlandization both as vision and as policy. Finally, Krebs suggests the study’s implications for international relations theory and contemporary foreign affairs.
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Published by Texas A&M University Press