Warren F. Kuehl and

Gary B. Ostrower

Internationalism in American foreign policy has had different meanings for nearly every generation of citizens and diplomats. It has been associated with all forms of external contact with the world, the relationships becoming more extensive and political with the passage of time. As a foreign policy, it has usually been viewed as the antithesis of isolationism, and in that sense it has involved political commitments or "entanglements" through multinational treaties as well as membership in international organizations. In a broader context, it has also encompassed official and unofficial nonpolitical activities—economic, social, cultural, and scientific—usually evidenced through affiliation with specialized international societies or agencies. Some internationalists have thought in terms of a universal community, a broad brotherhood of people with common concerns, needs, and aspirations that exists as a reality beyond the confines of nation-states. In recent times, internationalism has taken on a new meaning under a doctrine of responsibility, with the United States assuming the burden of "policeman of the world," both unilaterally and multilaterally.


Alder, Selig. The Isolationist Impulse: Its Twentieth Century Reaction. New York, 1957. Covers internationalism while addressing isolationism.

Bartlett, Ruhl J. The League to Enforce Peace. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1944. Excellent on developments between 1914 and 1919.

Brinkley, Douglas, and Townsend Hoopes. FDR and the Creation of the U.N. New Haven, Conn., 1997. Updates Robert Divine's wellknown study.

Curti, Merle. Peace or War: The American Struggle, 1636–1936. New York, 1936. A classic intellectual history.

Davis, Calvin D. The United States and the First Hague Peace Conference. Ithaca, N.Y., 1962. Describes the politics leading to the conference.

——. The United States and the Second Hague Peace Conference: American Diplomacy and International Organization, 1899–1914. Durham, N.C., 1975. Describes the politics leading to the conference.

Divine, Robert A. Second Chance: The Triumph of Internationalism in America During World War II. New York, 1967. Somewhat dated but still very useful in tracing the United States's role in writing the UN Charter.

Dunne, Michael. The United States and the World Court, 1920–1935. New York, 1988. The very best work on the legal issue. Dunne also wrote a number of fine articles about American diplomacy and internationalism that appeared in the British journal International Affairs during the 1990s.

Gill, George. The League of Nations from 1929 to 1946. Garden City, N.Y., 1997. A companion volume to Ostrower's work on the 1920s.

Herman, Sondra R. Eleven Against War: Studies in American Internationalist Thought, 1898–1921. Stanford, Calif., 1969. Develops the position of the "community-minded" internationalists.

Hilderbrand, Robert C. Dumbarton Oaks: The Origins of the United Nations and the Search for Postwar Security. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1990. Views the UN as a combination of Wilsonian idealism and Franklin Roosevelt's "Four Policeman" realism.

Hoffman, Stanley. "The Crisis of Liberal Internationalism." Foreign Policy 98 (Spring 1995). Indispensable in understanding end-of-the-century internationalism.

Hughes, Thomas L. "The Twilight of Internationalism." Foreign Policy 61 (winter 1985–1986): 25–48. Traces the reasons for the resurgence of nationalism.

Iriye, Akira. Cultural Internationalism and World Order. Baltimore, 1997. Provides an excellent overview of the nonpolitical side of internationalism from the perspective of a committed internationalist.

Johnson, Robert David, ed. On Cultural Ground: Essays in International History. Chicago, 1994. Contains essays that redefine the subject of internationalist thinking.

Josephson, Harold. James T. Shotwell and the Rise of Internationalism in America. Rutherford, N.J., 1975. Offers insight into the most active proponent of an organized world.

Knock, Thomas J. To End All Wars: Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order. New York, 1992. A rousing and exceptionally insightful defense of Wilson as liberal idealist.

Kuehl, Warren F. Hamilton Holt: Journalist, Internationalist, Educator. Gainesville, Fla., 1960. The standard biography of a key internationalist.

——. Seeking World Order: The United States and International Organization to 1920. Nashville, Tenn., 1969. Provides the fullest account of early support for cooperation.

Kuehl, Warren F., and Lynne K. Dunne. Keeping the Covenant: American Internationalists and the League of Nations, 1920–1939. Kent, Ohio, 1997. Provides an overview of pro-league sentiment by individuals and organized groups.

Marchand, C. Roland. The American Peace Movement and Social Reform, 1898–1918. Princeton, N.J., 1972. Sees internationalism emerging from the progressive movement generally.

Michalak, Stanley J. "The UN and the League." In Leon Gordenker, ed. The United Nations in International Politics. Princeton, N.J., 1971. Skillfully compares U.S. policy toward the League of Nations and the UN.

Ninkovich, Frank A. The Diplomacy of Ideas: U.S. Foreign Policy and Cultural Relations, 1938–1950. New York, 1981. Offers insight into the American shift from isolationism to Cold War interventionism.

——. The Wilsonian Century: U.S. Foreign Policy Since 1900. Chicago, 1999. Provides a less idealistic view of Wilson than is traditional, comparing Wilson's "crisis internationalism" to the more benign variety.

Nordholt, Jan Willem Schulte. Woodrow Wilson: A Life for World Peace. Berkeley, Calif., 1991. A very insightful and underrated biography that explores the nature of internationalism.

Ostrower, Gary B. Collective Insecurity: The United States and the League of Nations During the Early Thirties. Lewisburg, Pa., 1979. Provides an in-depth view of American policy during the Manchurian crisis.

——. "The United States and the League of Nations, 1919–1939." In Zara S. Steiner, ed. The League of Nations in Retrospect. Berlin, New York, 1983. A concise overview of the U.S.–League of Nations story.

——. The League of Nations: From 1919 to 1929. Garden City, N.Y., 1996. Offers a general history of the league including its nonpolitical work.

——. The United Nations and the United States: From 1940 to 1998. New York, 1998. Emphasizing the inconsistency of American policy, this is the best single survey of the U.S.–UN relationship.

Patterson, David S. Toward a Warless World: The Travail of the American Peace Movement, 1887–1914. Bloomington, Ind., 1976. Competently explores the internationalist perspective of peace workers.

Righter, Rosemary. Utopia Lost: The United Nations and World Order. New York, 1995. A superb study critical of U.S. policy at the UN.

Widenor, William C. Henry Cabot Lodge and the Search for an American Foreign Policy. Berkeley, Calif., 1980. One of the best examinations of the isolationist-internationalist debates after World War I, viewing Lodge as motivated by principle, not political advantage.

Wittner, Lawrence S. Rebels Against War: The American Peace Movement, 1941–60. New York, 1969. Contains the fullest presentation of post-1945 popular attitudes.

See also Arbitration, Mediation, and Conciliation ; Collective Security ; Cultural Relations and Policies ; Embargoes and Sanctions ; Globalization ; Imperialism ; International Law ; International Organization ; Isolationism ; Wilsonianism .

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