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Departmental Honors


The analysis of American foreign policy has long been a favorite subject for historians, and the U.S. policy toward China during the 1920s and 1930s has received its fair share of attention. Most authors dealing with this period have been content to trace carefully the course taken by U.S. policy makers during this period, pointing out where they went wrong, or defending the policy as being the best possible given the situation. Some authors have presented biographical sketches of various major policymakers, analyzing the role played by their policy maker. Nearly all include reasons a particular policy was followed or why a particular policymaker acted as he did.

What were the major determinants of U.S. policy during the late 1920s and early 1930s? This paper will present a summary of U.S. policy toward China from 1925 to 1937 to provide a background, followed by a description of the individuals in the State Department and the White House who had primary responsibility for the formulation of the China policy during this period and the role played by each. Next, the major factors that influenced the formation of policy will be discussed as well as the relative importance of each factor as measured by the actual policy followed. Finally, conclusions will be drawn as to the major determinants of U.S. policy toward China during this period.