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Biography of Dean Gooderham Acheson (1893-1971)


American politician, born in Middletown (Connecticut) on April 11, 1893 and died in Sandy Spring (MD.) on October 12, 1971. As Secretary of State from 1949 to 1953, he was the head of American foreign policy during the early years of the cold war.

Belonging to an upper-class family, he studied law at the prestigious universities of Yale and Harvard and, after graduating, worked between 1919 and 1921 as private Secretary of Louis D. Brandeis, judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. In 1921 he joined a law firm private lawyers in Washington, D.C. In 1933 he began his political career to be named Undersecretary of the Treasury under President Franklin D. RooseveltDemocrat. In 1941 he joined the State Department as Assistant to the Secretary, who would exercise until 1945, when he was promoted to Assistant Secretary of State. That same year was responsible for getting the approval from the Senate to the integration of the United States in the newly created United Nations.

Anti-Communist convinced, became one of the main shapers of policy of the United States against the Soviet Union and its estados-satelite. In 1947 he designed a program of partnerships with Turkey and Greece, known as the Truman doctrine, which included economic and military aid to both countries in order to tackle the Soviet expansion in the Middle East. Between 1947 and 1949 he collaborated actively with the Secretary of State, George C. Marshall, commissioning up European reconstruction program known as the Marshall Plan. In 1949 he was promoted to Secretary of State by Democratic President Harry S. Truman.

Head of the Secretariat of State developed a clearly anti-Soviet policy, which laid the foundations of the confrontation of blocks that marked world politics between 1950 and 1980. He was one of the main promoters of the Organization of the Treaty of the North Atlantic (NATO), first military alliance in peacetime in which joined United States. In addition, it continued to develop American aid to European reconstruction program launched by his predecessor in office.

While his tenure as head of the American foreign policy was characterized by a growing tension with the Soviet bloc, the ultra-conservative backlash that lived United States at the beginning of the 1950s became Acheson target of criticism from the sectors more violently anti-Communists of the Republican and democratic parties. Before the House UN-American activities Committee led by Senator McCarthy (1949-50), Acheson refused to dismiss its employees of the State Department who were under suspicion and defended tenaciously, despite the pressure of public opinion, his former colleague Alger Hiss, who was later convicted of perjury for having denied his involvement in the Soviet during the 1930s espionage. This caused a scandal that temporarily tarnished career of Acheson.

The political opposition, which demanded his resignation as Secretary of State. increased when in 1950 Communist China intervened in the war in Korea, especially since President Truman dismay in April 1951 the General Douglas MacArthur in charge of U.S. troops in the far East. Acheson was kept in his post, however, defending his policy of non-recognition of the Chinese Communist regime and support the Government of nationalist resistance to the general Chiang Kai-shek presiding over from Taiwan. It also supported the French colonial rule in Indochina against the growing Communist interference in the region.

In 1953 he completed his term as Secretary of State, but he did not abandon the political frontline. In the following years he participated in various extraordinary governmental committees and acted as Advisor to successive Presidents, at the time returning to practice law privately. In March 1968, recommended to President Lyndon B. Johnson the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops in Viet Nam. Although the war continued, the opinion of Acheson about U.S. chances in the Indochinese conflict influenced a decisive at the end of the bombing that U.S. aviation carried out on the Communist North Viet Nam.

In 1969 he published his book Present and the Creation, where he recounted his experience during his years in the State Department and that, in 1970, was awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in history. This was not his first publication: Power and Diplomacy had appeared in 1958 and, in 1965, Morning and Noon. His historical work The Korean War was published in 1971 and the following year, posthumously, Grapes from Thorns.


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