The U.S. Army School of the Americas and U.S. National Interests in the 20th Century

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Virginia Tech

The training of Latin American militaries at the United States Army School of the Americas has lasted through many stages of U.S. foreign policy. The training of approximately 55,000 Latin American civilian, military, and police personnel throughout the USARSA's 54-year existence placed the United States in an influential position to achieve U.S. national interests. Prior to World War II, the training of Latin American militaries was intended to supplant German and Italian military missions. As the Allies neared victory in WWII, training programs formalized to sustain Inter-American military cooperation. The enunciation of the Truman Doctrine and the Soviet Union's pledge to spread communism created a bipolar superpower conflict. As Cold War flashpoints arose such as the Berlin Blockade, the Korean War, the Cuban Revolution, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Vietnam War, the school continuously reorganized to grant the United States a clear political advantage to influence rising military leaders, government leaders, and consequently its political system and the future relations with that country. This thesis will examine one element of U.S. foreign policy, formerly the United States Army School of the Americas (USARSA), now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation to determine whether this institution served U.S. interests, and if so, when and how did it accomplish its mission.

U.S. Foreign Policy, National Interests, Latin America, School of the Americas, U.S. Army