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

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.