Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
James F. Siekmeier
This dissertation examines the role naval power played in the evolution of U.S. policy toward Latin America during the interwar period, when the United States abandoned armed interventionism in favor of the policy of the "Good Neighbor." Specifically, it focuses on two oft-overlooked types of naval diplomacy the United States used to exercise influence in the South American nation of Peru: the employment of U.S. personnel as naval advisers to the Peruvian government, and the use of U.S. naval vessels as agents of public diplomacy on "goodwill" cruises and port visits in Peruvian waters. It argues that the United States relied on the former while interventionism remained the accepted policy toward much of Latin America but was considered untenable south of the Caribbean (roughly 1919-1932), and embraced the latter after renouncing intervention in the interests of becoming a "Good Neighbor" (roughly 1933 through World War II). This research demonstrates that naval power was a much more flexible, integral part of U.S. diplomacy in Latin America during the 1920s and 1930s than historians have recognized. And importantly, it begins to bridge a persistent gap between the literatures on American diplomatic and naval history -- neither of which captures the full extent of the nation's efforts at naval diplomacy in the interwar period or adequately addresses the broader significance of those efforts to U.S. foreign relations.
Christenson, Joel C., "From Gunboats to Good Neighbors: U.S. Naval Diplomacy in Peru, 1919-1942" (2013). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 253.