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Religion and American Foreign Policy, 1945–1960

The Soul of Containment

Religion and American Foreign Policy, 1945–1960
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The Cold War was in many ways a religious war. Presidents Truman and Eisenhower and other American leaders believed that human rights and freedom were endowed by God, that God had called the United States to defend liberty, and that Soviet communism was evil because of its atheism and enmity to religion. Along with security and economic concerns, these religious convictions helped determine both how the United States defined the enemy and how it fought the conflict. Meanwhile, American Protestant churches failed to seize the moment. Internal differences over theology and politics, and resistance to cooperation with Catholics and Jews, hindered Protestant leaders domestically and internationally. Frustrated by these internecine disputes, Truman and Eisenhower attempted to construct a new civil religion to mobilize domestic support for Cold War measures, determine the strategic boundaries of containment, unite all religious faiths against communism, and to undermine the authority of communist governments abroad.
Cambridge University Press; August 2008
370 pages; ISBN 9780511421464
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