Kwajalein Atoll, the Marshall Islands and American Policy in the Pacific

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About the Book

For centuries, the Marshall Islands have been drawn into international politics, primarily because of their central location in Oceania. After World War II they came into the American sphere as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. At the outset of the Cold War, the Marshalls were a site for nuclear tests and later for the U.S. Army’s ballistic missile testing as part of President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. This book focuses on the islanders’ tenacious negotiations for independence and control of their land, accomplished as the Republic of the Marshall Islands in a Compact of Free Association with the U.S. The creation of American policy in the Pacific was a struggle between the U.S. departments of the Interior and State, and the military’s goals for strategic national defense, as illustrated by the case of the Army’s base at Kwajalein Atoll.

About the Author(s)

Ruth Douglas Currie is a professor emerita in the History Department, Appalachian State University. She served four years as command historian, U.S. Army Strategic Defense Command, and recently retired as a professor of history and political science at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Ruth Douglas Currie

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 236
Bibliographic Info: 7 photos, 3 maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6311-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2632-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii
Preface 1
Introduction 2
One—America Claims the Pacific 7
Two—National Competition in the Nineteenth Century 20
Three—Versailles and the Japanese Mandate 34
Four—World War II 51
Five—Truman, the United Nations and U.S. Control 72
Six—The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands 87
Seven—The Congress of Micronesia 102
Eight—Micronesian Status Politics 118
Nine—Free Association 137
Ten—To the ­Twenty-First Century 154
Epilogue 176
Chapter Notes 179
Bibliography 198
Index 217

Book Reviews & Awards

“Currie provides an excellent, archive-driven, microhistorical approach of a multilayered analytical critique of US foreign policy in the Pacific…. An excellent read, well written, closely studied, and expertly documented…essential”—Choice

“a welcome addition to the sparse library of books about this region…meticulous…valuable…worth reading”—The Marshall Islands Journal

“Currie chronicles in brilliant detail the fascinating history of how the U.S. resolved the conflict between democracy and power in its relationship with the Marshall Islands. Diplomatic history at its best, she gives vivid accounts of how presidents Truman and Carter dealt with the lure of the Pacific…an extraordinary accomplishment of scholarship and presentation”—E. Stanly Godbold, Jr., Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: The Georgia Years, 1924–1974

“Dr. Currie captures the definitive history of the Marshallese nation’s special relationship with the U.S. which helped secure America’s interests in the Pacific, and the struggle to preserve their culture over a century of colonialism and Great Power domination.”—John Fairlamb, Office of Compact Negotiations, U.S. Department of State, 1999–2004