Two Front War: An Examination of the Civil Rights Struggle in the Cold War Context
Wilsman, Adam Richard
Throughout the course of American history, a tension has existed between domestic politics and American foreign policy. American foreign policymakers often see domestic opponents as a far more relevant threat to their livelihoods than foreign nations and as a consequence, foreign policymakers frequently make decisions based upon domestic opinion and governmental and bureaucratic pressures. Domestic politics can impact foreign policy making in other ways as well. As America acts in the world, it considers the ways in which its domestic situation affects its global standing. At no time in U.S. history was this interplay more clear than during the Cold War. While Cold War proxy conflicts raged on from Vietnam to Guatemala and from Chile to Angola, rancor and conflict took pace much close to home, on the streets of American cities, as America's racial crisis grew heated and sometimes violent. What impact, if any, did America's Cold War foreign policy have on the course of the American civil rights movement at home? This paper seeks to answer that question and others through an examination of the liberal Christian journals Christianity and Crisis and Christian Century, which demonstrate the degree to which black religious leaders understood this interplay and attempted to evoke it in their arguments in support of racial justice.