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The Perils of Perfectionism: American Reaction to the Dumbarton Oaks Proposals

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-04-16, 09:03 authored by Andrew Johnstone
In the debate that followed the release of the Dumbarton Oaks proposals in 1944, the US government vigorously promoted the idea of international organization, partly due to fears of a resurgent isolationism. Yet as the debate progressed, it became clear that isolationism was not the main enemy, and concerns that the USA would not engage at all with the UN proved unfounded. Instead, the most active critics of the Dumbarton Oaks proposals were not those who wished to ignore the Dumbarton Oaks proposals, but those who wanted to perfect them. Calls for a more perfect international union came from across the political spectrum and for different reasons. Ultimately, the Roosevelt administration recognized that perfectionism was an issue that threatened the peace process. Fearing a repeat of the rejection of the League of Nations, the Roosevelt administration worked tirelessly to share the message of the Dumbarton Oaks proposals to the American people. But that message was mostly a cautious one, highlighting that while the proposed UN was not perfect, it was the best option for peace.

History

Citation

Journal of Contemporary History, 2018

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, ARTS AND HUMANITIES/School of History, Politics and International Relations

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Journal of Contemporary History

Publisher

SAGE Publications

issn

0022-0094

eissn

1461-7250

Copyright date

2018

Available date

2018-09-04

Publisher version

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0022009418771755

Language

en

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