Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of History

Content Description

1 online resource (ix, 289 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Lawrence S. Wittner

Committee Members

H. Peter Krosby, Dan S. White


Cold War, Dwight D. Eisenhower, foreign policy, nuclear reactors, nuclear weapons, propaganda, Nuclear industry, Nuclear energy, Nuclear nonproliferation

Subject Categories

History | United States History


This dissertation analyzes the bilateral agreements for cooperation on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy enacted under President Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace program from 1953 to 1960. It challenges previous representations of Atoms for Peace that depict it as a legitimate attempt at arms control or dismiss it as a mere propaganda campaign. Atoms for Peace was not intended to be a disarmament measure. Instead, it united nuclear, economic, and foreign policy objectives in a synergistic program intended to fulfill a number of postwar aims: blunting nuclear fears in order to quiet criticisms of the American nuclear project, supporting postwar development projects while encouraging American businesses, and cementing old alliances while creating new ones. Using case studies of U.S. relations with nations around the globe, I argue that the bilateral agreements and the resulting technology exchanges denote an important shift in U.S. foreign policy in the mid-1950s. They represent a new atomic diplomacy that remade the political and technological map through the export of knowledge, fissionable material and equipment.