Betting on the Africans: John F. Kennedys Courting of African Nationalist Leaders

Paperback | February 10, 2014

byPhilip E. Muehlenbeck

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As a presidential candidate, John F. Kennedy established a reputation across Africa as a sympathetic supporter of African nationalism, who if elected would realign Washington's priorities toward the continent. Once in office, Kennedy indeed made changing the image of America in Africa a toppriority of his administration, believing that the Cold War could be won or lost depending upon whether Washington or Moscow won the hearts and minds of the Third World. Africa was particularly important because a wave of independence saw nineteen newly independent African states admitted into the United Nations during 1960-61. By 1962, 31 of the UN's 110 member states were from the African continent, and both Washington and Moscow sought to add these countries totheir respective voting bloc. Kennedy feared that neglect of the newly decolonized countries of the world would result in the rise of anti-Americanism and needed to be addressed irrespective of the Cold War. Philip Muehlenbeck demonstrates how Kennedy used all means at his disposal - economic,cultural, personal - to appeal to the leaders of the developing world, including Nkrumah, Senghor, Toure, Nyerere, and Ben Bella.Drawing on archival sources from Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom, Muehlenbeck closely examines Kennedy's policies towards Guinea, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Egypt, Algeria, Tanganyika, and South Africa, which were to a large extent successful in winning the sympathies of itspeoples, while at the same time alienating more traditional American allies. Betting on the Africans adds an important chapter to the historiography of John F. Kennedy's Cold War strategy as well as the history of decolonization.

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As a presidential candidate, John F. Kennedy established a reputation across Africa as a sympathetic supporter of African nationalism, who if elected would realign Washington's priorities toward the continent. Once in office, Kennedy indeed made changing the image of America in Africa a toppriority of his administration, believing that...

Philip E. Muehlenbeck is a Professor Lecturer in the Department of History at George Washington University.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:360 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:February 10, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199380716

ISBN - 13:9780199380718

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction: JFK and the "Greatest Revolution in Human History"AbbreviationsPart One1. 'More Royalist than the Queen': Eisenhower/Dulles Policy toward Africa2. JFK's Early Support of African Nationalism3. Kennedy, Sekou Toure and the Success of Personal Diplomacy4. Kennedy, Kwame Nkrumah, and the Volta River Project Decision5. Kennedy, Julius Nyerere, and Self-Determination in Southern Africa6. Kennedy, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ben Bella, and North African Arab Nationalism7. Kennedy, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, William Tubman, and Conservative African NationalismPart Two8. The Kennedy-de Gaulle Rivalry in Africa9. The View from Pretoria10. Cold War Civil Rights and Kennedy's Courting of African Nationalists11. Contested Skies: US-USSR Competition for African Civil Aviation Markets and the Cuban Missile CrisisConclusion: The Kennedy Legacy in AfricaNotesBibliographyIndex