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Reputation for ResolveHow Leaders Signal Determination in International Politics$
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Danielle L. Lupton

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501747717

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501747717.001.0001

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A Reputation for Resolute Action

A Reputation for Resolute Action

Eisenhower and Berlin

(p.89) Chapter 4 A Reputation for Resolute Action
Reputation for Resolve

Danielle L. Lupton

Cornell University Press

This chapter explores how Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev viewed the resolve of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, considering Khrushchev's decision making surrounding the 1958 Berlin Crisis. The historical record shows that Eisenhower's early statements were particularly influential to the formation of his reputation, as they created expectations of how he would behave in the future. However, Eisenhower was unable to solidify his reputation for resolve at the 1955 Geneva Summit, as Khrushchev perceived Secretary of State John Foster Dulles rather than President Eisenhower as being in direct control of negotiations at the summit. Yet, in the year leading up to the 1958 Berlin Ultimatum, Khrushchev's perception of who was in control of U.S. foreign policy shifted to emphasize the importance of Eisenhower to America's Berlin policy. And the president's statements leading up to the Berlin Crisis led Khrushchev to believe Eisenhower was unlikely to make major concessions on the issue. Eisenhower's subsequent firm response to the Berlin Crisis then confirmed Khrushchev's expectations of the president's resolve. Accordingly, Eisenhower established a reputation for resolute action that would last until the end of his presidency. Further evidence suggests that Eisenhower's actions as a general during World War II were influential to Khrushchev's early perceptions of the president.

Keywords:   Nikita Khrushchev, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1958 Berlin Crisis, political reputation, 1958 Berlin Ultimatum, U.S. foreign policy, political resolve

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