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Crisis and Confrontation: Chinese-American Relations during the Eisenhower Administration

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image of Journal of American-East Asian Relations

The 1950s was a decade of crisis and confrontation between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the United States. Considering China as a major threat to U.S. interests in East Asia and the Pacific, the Eisenhower administration adopted a policy of political isolation, economic embargo, and military containment against the PRC. Leaders in Beijing viewed the United States as a primary enemy hostile to China's revolution and its unification with Taiwan. They maintained an intense anti-American campaign throughout the decade. How did this condition of hostility come about? How did policymakers in Washington and Beijing view each other? What objectives did the Eisenhower administration plan to achieve in pursuing a policy of toughness against the Chinese Communists? And how did Mao Zedong and his associates react to American pressure and antagonism? This essay will use recently released American and Chinese documents to answer those questions.


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