Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


This is an examination of the Eisenhower Administration’s diplomatic and broader foreign policy in Iran and Iraq. The geopolitical circumstances of the early Cold War period framed the decisions of the Eisenhower Administration in every geographical region. In the Middle East the Eisenhower Administration attempted to check Soviet influence and potential expansionism as well as moderate or sideline Gamal Abdul Nasser’s Arab Socialist and Arab Nationalist movements. In furtherance of these goals, the Eisenhower Administration took two very different approaches to the regimes in Iraq and Iran. After a reasonably fair election in Iran returned an anti-Monarchist government that had some socialist elements more sympathetic to the USSR and that government took steps to nationalize the oil industry, the Eisenhower administration authorized a CIA-backed coup plot that reinstalled the shah and removed the left-leaning government. Thereafter the Eisenhower Administration sought to prop up the government with military aid and economic development. In Iraq a reasonably friendly monarchy and political oligarchy’s concerns and fundamental weaknesses were essentially ignored in the run up to a major coup in 1958. Despite being driven by nationalist concerns, the new governments all had a slight socialist element, and thus the Eisenhower Administration was cold to the overtures of friendship. This paper argues that these strategic choices were knowably short-sighted and narrow-focused, and they were important causes of the following Islamic Revolution in 1979 in Iran and the Baath government taking control in Iraq in 1968. The Eisenhower Administration confused Arab Nationalism and Arab Socialism with Soviet communism and issued ultimatums that neither government would be able to reasonably fulfilled if they desired to survive in the long term.


Dr. David Bovee

Date of Award

Fall 2014

Document Type



© 2014 Timothy L. Northrup


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