Why did the US break with its traditional foreign policy to enter the war in Europe in 1917?

The final assessment will involve you writing an academic essay on a topic specific to issues covered in the module (from the Great War up to the War on Terror) or a general thematic essay on twentieth century US foreign policy (questions 15, 16, 17 and 18).

You must have an appropriate bibliography of secondary sources, such as academic texts and journal articles.

You need to directly relate your essay to American ideals and foreign policy traditions and doctrines (see the list from assessment one).

The essay is 2,500 words and constitutes 60% of the overall mark for the module.

Essay Titles:

Why did the US break with its traditional foreign policy to enter the war in E
Why was there so much domestic opposition to US membership of the League of Nations in the years 1919-1921?
What were the major factors that contributed to US isolationism in the 1920s and 1930s?
Why did the United States enter the Second World War in 1941?
‘The brave and essential response of free men to communist aggression’: How justified is this view of the origins of the Cold War during the Truman administration (1945-1953)?
Why did Eisenhower feel that he needed a ‘New Look’ foreign policy (1953-1961)? Was it a success?
Did JFK’s approach to Cuba reflect a failure of American containment policy?
Did the US lose the Vietnam conflict due to its Cold War strategy and military tactics or was it due to domestic opposition?
How do you account for the thaw in the US-Soviet relations in the late 1960s and early 1970s and the emergence of the process of détente?
Was Carter’s commitment to a foreign policy based on human rights a failure?
Ronald Reagan won the Cold War. How far do you agree with this statement?
‘Band Aid Diplomacy’: To what extent do you agree with this assessment of the foreign policy of the Clinton Administration (1993-2001)?
How significant a departure was the Bush Doctrine (2001) from twentieth century US foreign policy?
Would you categorize Obama’s foreign policy as being ‘smart power’? How successful was this approach during his tenure of office?

Thematic Questions:

Critically assess the problems of American foreign policy doctrines for US policy makers in the twentieth century.
How far has the US exhibited signs of being an empire in the post-Second World War period?
How correct was Eisenhower’s assertion that the US was ensnared in a ‘military-industrial complex’ in the Cold War period?
How far was the space race in the US affected by Cold War ideology and military considerations?

General Guidelines and Requirements
Your essay should present the main debates on the topic and sustain a clear argument, which is presented in the introduction to the essay. Do not regard your essay as a narrative of ‘what happened’, although a discussion of historical events may form part of your background material.
2. At the very least, you must show awareness of historiographical debates. Rather than just restating the views of other historians, a good essay will engage with, evaluate, and analyse the scholarship in order to build a strong argument.

3. You should use some primary sources in your essay which will help you develop your own ideas and arguments.

4. Essays must have citations and a bibliography in the format indicated in the student handbook. You must include citations for all direct quotations AND the views and interpretations of others.

5. The further reading section on Moodle provides an extensive, but not exhaustive list of books and articles that will help you with your essay. You should search the library catalogue and electronic journals (JSTOR, etc) for further resources as required.

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