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The Influence Of The Cold War And The Great Depression On United States Latin American Relations

931 words - 4 pages


Julia Wuestefeld

Grade 12

Discuss the influence of the Cold War and the Great Depression on US~LA relations. Use as examples at least two different countries in two different regions of Latin America.

Wednesday March 16th, 2010

Word Count: 820

Since the Spanish-American War, the United States can be seen as an imperialist power. Using policies such as the "Big Stick" and "Gunboat Diplomacy" the United States was able to influence various countries in Latin America. Nonetheless, U.S. relations with Latin American countries were strongly influenced by the greater global context. The Great Depression of 1929 and the Cold War were two of the global events that most heavily influenced the relationship between the U.S. and El Salvador, as well as between the U.S. and Cuba.

The global context of the Great Depression heavily influenced American relations with Latin America. Before the depression, there was much US military intervention in El Salvador. The U.S. had called for a marine occupation in order to stabilize the rebellions in the region. However, due to the depression, this operation was cancelled. Instead, F. D. Roosevelt issued the "Good Neighbour" Policy in 1933, such that the United States would no longer intervene in its neighbouring countries' affairs. In the place of a military occupation, the U.S. used loans and investments to have a say in the economy. Similarly, the Great Depression also profoundly influenced the U.S. relations with Cuba. The island depended heavily on the exportation of sugar to the United States. Therefore, when the depression struck and the U.S. couldn't maintain the level of sugar consumption, Cuban economy suffered drastically. This created a large number of displeased Cubans and began generating a nationalist sentiment. Therefore, the influence of the depression on the relations between the United States and Latin American countries was obviously widespread.

The Cold War was another global conflict that influenced American relations with El Salvador and Cuba. After the overthrow of Dictator Martin�z in El Salvador, 1945, many different uprisings began taking place. Fearing the occupation of a leftist government, the United States refused to recognize the newly elected leaders. The same phenomenon can be seen taking place in Cuba. After the revolution and the establishment Castro in the government, the United States feared that the USSR would adopt Cuba as a sphere of influence. Therefore, the U.S. sponsored the attack of the Bay of Pigs, which attempted to...

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