Date of Award

Summer 2008

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Lorraine M. Lees

Committee Member

Austin Jersild

Committee Member

James R. Sweeney

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H47 J47 2008


Entering the White House in 1963, Lyndon B. Johnson pursued a policy of "bridge building" to Eastern Europe, finding agreement on small issues of economics and foreign relations in order to decrease tension between East and West. Johnson targeted Romania as the show case for bridge building because of its growing autonomy from the Soviet Union. Romania's policies of rapid industrialization and foreign policy independence offered potent possibilities. However, Johnson's bridge building faced many difficulties. His administration pursued a dual Cold War policy: he fought communist belligerency in Vietnam while affirming the positive behavior of Eastern European satellites. Despite the support of the State Department, Johnson could not fully exploit the Romanian possibilities. An uncooperative Congress and anti-communist special interest groups prevented liberalizing trade with Eastern Europe. The continual denial of Most Favored Nation status, along with other export restrictions and strategic boycotts of goods to Eastern Europe, limited the expansion of trade with Romania. Internal dissent in the Johnson cabinet also limited trade, as did Romanian criticism of America's involvement in and escalation of the Vietnam War. Though trade and cultural exchange did increase during the Johnson administration, he did not achieve the success he envisioned.


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