U.S. State Department historian discusses Asia’s influence on Cold War

Posted on February 04, 2008 by Staff Writer

U.S. State Department historian Evan Dawley will present “The Decision to Intervene: U.S. East Asian Policies and the East Asian Origins of the Cold War” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7 in the Browsing Room at Sweet Briar College’s Cochran Library.

Dawley’s talk addresses the immediate post-World War II years, when the United States was trying to figure out how it would interact with the rest of the world as a newly predominant military and economic power.

Setting the backdrop for the period he speaks about, Dawley wrote, “In 1945, U.S. decision makers seemed determined to rely upon collective, cooperative solutions to global issues, and so they created the United Nations as the embodiment of their internationalist aspirations.

“By 1950, however, the United States and the Soviet Union had divided much of the world into opposing camps, with little hope for amicable relations between them. Although Europe was the focus of attention and concern for both superpowers, events in East Asia proved to be at least as influential in transforming U.S-Soviet tensions into a full-blown Cold War.”

In the lecture, Dawley will examine the American approach and response to events in China and Korea between 1945 and 1950, and how civil wars in those countries helped to produce the global Cold War.

Dawley, who has a doctorate in history and master’s degree in regional studies-East Asia, with a focus on China, from Harvard, joined the State Department in 2006. His responsibilities include preparing reports on U.S.-China relations for the U.S. embassy in Beijing, and designing and teaching training modules in U.S. foreign relations history for foreign service officers.

The event is free and open to the public. Contact John Ashbrook at 381-6174 or jashbrook@sbc.edu for more information.