Date of Award

Spring 2020

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Kurkpatrick Dorsey

Second Advisor

Cathy Frierson

Third Advisor

Lu Yan


This thesis seeks to explain the development and implementation of United States foreign policy towards Eastern Europe in general, but specifically Hungary under President Eisenhower. The Eisenhower administration created a system in which two distinct, and at times contradictory foreign policy messages were broadcast to the people of Hungary, one that supported a general idea of rolling back Communism and another that seemed to promise specific help doing just that. This pairing had the effect of instilling in the Hungarian people a belief that the United States would come to their aid when they revolted against their Communist government in October 1956. The events of the Hungarian Revolution illustrate this tragic miscommunication that had become a hallmark of United States foreign policy during President Eisenhower’s first term, as the rebels felt betrayed by the lack of American support. Sources for this thesis were drawn primarily from the archives of the Eisenhower Presidential Library, from documents found in volumes of the Foreign Relations of the United States, and others compiled by the Wilson Center, as well as transcripts with Hungarian Refugees compiled by Columbia University.