Harold Ickes: A New Dealer’s opposition to the early Cold War

Peace &Change, Volume 49, Issue 3, Page 262-283, July 2024.


Harold Ickes, an important New Deal policy-maker, was also, after he left his post as Interior Secretary, a vocal critic of President Harry Truman's Cold War policy. His criticisms – distributed first through a thrice-weekly syndicated column and then in a weekly magazine column – most significantly identified United States naval and military policies in its Pacific territories as both unjust to their Indigenous inhabitants and as sources of global tensions. In particular, Ickes in the late 1940s challenged Americans to see their nation's dealings abroad as the rest of the world did: as too often militaristic, undemocratic, and hypocritical. While no apologist for Soviet policy, Ickes primarily framed postwar international relations through his opposition to militarism and fascism rather than through a Communist/non-Communist dichotomy. As it broadens the pantheon of American Cold War critics, this study also contributes to recent scholarship emphasizing interconnections between US colonial control over its offshore territories and US foreign relations.

This was originally published on Wiley: Peace & Change: Table of Contents.