Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-9-2018

Major Department or Program



David F. Schmitz


The Reagan administration saw the emergence of Marxist-Leninist revolutionary groups in Central America as a threat to the security of the United States and to American credibility during the Cold War. The administration's response to the guerrilla movement in El Salvador and the Sandinista government in Nicaragua was shaped by traditional Cold War ideology. The Vietnam War and the fracturing of the Cold War consensus, however, altered the public's perception of the role of U.S. foreign policy. The Reagan administration's flawed assumptions about the situations in El Salvador and Nicaragua, and its refusal to alter its foreign policy in the face of broad-based opposition at home, destined the administration's policies for failure.

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Subject Headings

Reagan, Ronald‚ Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional‚ Cold War‚ Guerrillas -- El Salvador‚ Vietnam War, 1916-1975‚ Dictators -- Political aspects‚ Communism‚ Socialism‚ Social sciences‚ El Salvador‚ Nicaragua‚ United States -- Foreign relations -- 20th century‚ Whitman College 2018 -- Dissertation Collection -- History Department

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Public Accessible Thesis

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History Commons



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