Date of Award

August 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Glen Jeansonne

Committee Members

Neal Pease, Rob Smith


Disarmament, Hoover, Latin-American, Manchuria, Quaker, Reparations


This study examines the major foreign policy events of Herbert Hoover's presidency. The thesis uses newspapers, presidential memorandums as well as memoirs from key cabinet members in Hoover's administration to bring into account Hoover's background and upbringing as a motive for how he dealt with foreign policy issues throughout his four years in office and brings to light his efforts to create a better and more peaceful world. Beginning with his childhood, Hoover began to develop moral and character attributes that taught him the importance of helping neighbors and always acting humane when it came to issues of war, pain and suffering. Hoover organized massive relief efforts in Europe during and after World War I, saving millions from starvation and death. As President-elect, he traveled to Latin America on a quest for "good will" to repair a fractured United States-Latin American relationship. The Quaker strove for world peace and his administration took part in several disarmament conferences with the goal of reducing arms and ultimately an elimination of war. He also developed and set the precedent for summit diplomacy as a means of achieving peace and good will. The Manchurian Crisis of 1929-1933 brought Hoover's humanitarian policy to the Far East. The President implemented numerous decrees and steered his Secretary of State toward a pacific resolution of the conflict. By securing peace in the Far East, Hoover kept the United States out of war and averted senseless death and destruction. Following the signing of the Versailles Treaty, intense and heavy-handed reparations were placed upon Germany. As a result, the economies of Europe collapsed and resentment developed in the citizens of Germany. Hoover attempted to curb the banking failure by implementing a debt moratorium and standstill agreement in an effort to nurse European economies back to health and prevent the spark of another world war. Ultimately, this study, by blending Hoover's moral character, ambitions and determination with his humane policies, attempts to dispute misconceptions of Hoover and his presidency. It adds to the missing historiography and strives to bring Herbert Hoover from the prejudice of condemnation and into more favorable light.