The Cold War was an overarching
reality for American presidents from Truman to George H.W. Bush. In fact, prosecuting the Cold War posed a profound dilemma for all presidents, but especially for Dwight D. Eisenhower. In this Washington History Seminar, Wm. M. McClenahan, Jr. and Wm. H. Becker argued that economic policy was second only to national security in Ike’s mind. They asked how the United States was able to engage in the Cold War without undermining American political democracy and a market economy — when preserving the American way of life was to Eisenhower the preeminent objective of the Cold War.
Wm. H. Becker is professor of history and international affairs at George Washington University. Wm. M. McClenahan, Jr. is a lecturer in business law and public policy at the University of Maryland-College Park. Together they have written Eisenhower and the Cold War Economy (2011); The Market, the State and the Export-Import Bank of the United States, 1934-2000 (2003); and with Joseph A. Pratt, The Voice of the Marketplace: A History of the National Petroleum Council (2002).