March 12
The New Look and Covert Operations

Josť Manuel Fortuny, leader of the Guatemalan communist party. The Eisenhower administration was convinced that his relationship with Jacobo Arbenz proved the communist inclinations of the Guatemalan regime. The resulting covert operation toppled the Arbenz government and provided a good look at how Eisenhower looked to use covert operations to wage the Cold War.
Dwight Eisenhower was an old-fashioned Republican in many respects: he believed in the dangers of deficit spending of all types, including on the military. And so his New Look doctrine aimed for a decrease in appropriations for conventional arms and a subsequent increase in funds for nuclear weapons and covert operations. We'll be looking at the effects of two of those operations--in Guatemala and Iran--in today's class.

DOCUMENTS:

bullet Guatemala: CIA Assassination Manual (1952)
bullet Summaries (1, 2) of PBSUCCESS
bullet CIA and Iran (1953)
bullet CIA analysis: Guatemala

Caucus question: How significant was the US role in the overthrow of Arbenz--i.e., how far was the Eisenhower administration willing to go?

Also, as we move closer to the present, the foreign affairs in the news link becomes more relevant--it's updated daily, and so try to check in relatively frequently.

return to class schedule