Skip to main content

The Imperial Imperative: John F Kennedy and US Foreign Relations

Hurley, Christopher John (2018) The Imperial Imperative: John F Kennedy and US Foreign Relations. Master of Research (MRes) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:69643)

Language: English
Download (1MB)
[thumbnail of 31Full Documnent 08 Oct 18.pdf]
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format


US foreign relations during the second half of the twentieth century are usually framed in terms of the Cold War as the dominant force for considerations that guided policy making. In this context John F Kennedy is ordinarily considered as little different from those who occupied the White House both before him and following his death.

This paper argues that Kennedy's thinking, uniquely, was conditioned to a notable extent by the implications of decolonisation and the decline of the European empires. In this context, Kennedy's decision making was based upon several guiding principles that, collectively, provided the basis of a set approach to foreign affairs management. These principles included:

• keeping the United States out of military situations where the consequences, counter actions and reverberations could not be calculated with certainty;

• taking care in all forms of intervention (economic, social, political as well as military) to avoid the error of turning the United States into a dominant, neo-colonial power, an approach which would endanger peace in the modern world;

• engaging with new and emerging nations, maintaining a genuine concern for their welfare and developing ties that would serve mutual interests, delivering prosperity for both parties.

This paper concludes that Kennedy's thinking certainly drew upon these principles, but that his vision of a future world in which new nations, released from the confines of imperial oversight, would become thriving democracies, was misplaced.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Research (MRes))
Uncontrolled keywords: John F Kennedy, Cold War, Colonialism, Imperialism, Vietnam
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America
J Political Science > JK Political institutions and public administration (United States)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2018 12:10 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2022 02:46 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year