Jacob A. Ross '15, Gettysburg College

Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2015




This paper explores the anti-communist Cold War tactics of public diplomacy as undertaken by the Eisenhower Administration. The focus of this paper is the Inter-American Highway: a program which the U.S. government funded and constructed to develop Central America economically, politically, and beyond. Funding for this program was increased and supported by the president because it fit the axiom of spending as little money as possible in the Cold War, but spending it in a way to be effective in the battle against Soviet communism. The stance of the U.S. government was to provide Central America with increased infrastructure development in an effort to make the region attractive to foreign investors, whose capital investments in the region would spur on economic growth and create political stability. The tactic was relatively successful, and eventually led to economic unification through the Central American Common Market (similar to the European Coal and Steel Community). It was believed that the CACM would eventually lead to political unification and collective security in a similar way that the ECSC led to the EU, but nationalism and regional jealousies fragmented the CACM before political unification could be realized. Nevertheless, the Inter-American Highway and resulting CACM did economically benefit all nations involved, and instituted a rare era of regional peace.


History Senior Thesis