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America’s Change Century from Hawaii to Iraq Essay

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Updated: Mar 19th, 2021


Harry Truman was the 33rd president of the United States of America. He first went to France as head of a special unit in the artillery wing of the army. During World War II, he headed a committee in the senate whose primary goal was to monitor the progress of the war. Truman did not believe in losing in war. He spoke of the “golden rule” as recorded in the book of Matthew 7:12. The verse read, “Do unto others what you would like them to do unto you” This fact was a Biblical example of good neighborliness. However, considering the practical examples highlighted by Kinzer’s Overthrow; the fact was not always the case. Truman oversaw the signing of the UN Peace Charter in 1945. The citizens of the U.S hoped that peace would start being realized after the signing of the declaration. When Japan refused to surrender; Truman ordered atomic bombs to be used in the war against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This idea had adverse consequences on the people of the two Japanese towns and the effects are still evident in recent times.


Truman managed to end racial segregation in the civil service and armed forces in 1948. Democracy in many parts of the world has not been easily realized. Abraham Lincoln recognized that democracy is embedded in the will of the people. He insisted that all citizens had equal rights in decision-making. The interest of the U.S in Chile’s major copper mines was an infringement of workers’ rights. The interest had effects on Chile’s land reforms and re-organization of the natural economy. This fact meant that Chile’s power and right of democracy were mutilated.


Chileans did not succumb to external pressure from the US despite attempts by the latter to negatively affect its economy and politics through sanctions. The U.S disapproved of the outcome of the result and imposed economic sanctions against Chile. Facts showed that the U.S tried to fund three rebel groups to oust President Allende. Reports show that during the 1st year of Allende’s reign; the economy was favorably growing with a 12 % industrial growth, an 8.6% thrust in GDP, and a reduction of inflation rates from 34.9 % to 22.1 % and unemployment rates dropping to 3.8 %. This achievement was a remarkable one for Allende. Allende’s success was attributed to the freezing of prices, an increase in wage rates, and tax reforms.

Industries that began to show a steady growth included copper, coal, iron, nitrate, and steel. The US later suspended its sanctions on Chile. Its goal was to uplift Chile’s economy which had attracted both domestic and foreign investors. Kinzer describes how the US did not hesitate to deal with challenges obscuring Chile’s economical or political goals. Kinzer brought into perspective how the US toppled 14 foreign governments. The U.S had always tried to influence regime change in foreign governments so that it would advance its political and economic policies. The efforts by the U.S to bring the said changes demonstrate that the need to have a special body that speaks out against the ills in the world. The strategy was executed by employing middlemen with a wide spectrum of knowledge on governance ranging from politicians, government spies, the military, and business men and women.


In the cold war era, malicious actions were directed against Afghanistan, Iraq, and Grenada by the U.S. Kinzer argues that the US made efforts to spread propaganda on states that it did not perceive to be friendly towards its policies through an international network. Kinzer spoke of how America should behave like a super power. He spoke against the American policy of trying to spread hatred by dividing the world. He said that hatred was a feeling and contravened the golden rule which was love. Kinzer advanced the notion that hatred resulted in resentment and possibly war. Kinzer in his book recommends that for effective democracy; a power triangle should be established to shape the relations of the US with Israel and Saudi Arabia. He suggested that Iran should be America’s closest ally replacing Israel and Saudi Arabia. He went ahead to warn America of an attack from Iran. Kinzer however cautioned against disputing the said possible attack on the U.S by saying that the onslaught fact was not based on fantasy and delusion (Kinzer, 34).


In spite of the US having an advantage when it came to political intricacy, it became apparent that it could not wage war easily (Kinzer, 26). During the fall of President Allende In 1973, there had been controversies that the CIA was involved in the coup. When the Chilean military shot the president, political vigilantes aroused the suspicion that the U.S could have been involved. The law of non-intervention was not perceived to have been applied. Reports showed that in October 1973, about 72 people were killed by what was perceived to have been the “caravan of death”. Facts indicate that over 1000 people were killed when General Augusto Pinochet took over after Allende’s assassination. Tens of thousands of civilians were detained, tortured and some succumbed to death. Analysts would later argue that the coming to power of General Augusto was no mere coincidence but a breach of the policy of non-intervention (Kinzer, 13).

Tactical approach

General Augusto formed an army that consisted of a special force. This move was seen as a tactical approach of abolishing civil rights, tracking the movements of information, forbidding collective bargaining, and alleviating Allende’s reforms. In Guatemala, the state of economic and political affairs was almost similar to Chile. In 1954, the Guatemala coup did not only oust President Jacob Arbenz but formed a framework for an apparent fall of the Guatemala economy. Different but related systems of annihilation were employed. The “army of the liberation” invasion aroused different emotions especially since it provoked the 36yrs of the civil war in Guatemala in which between 140,000 and 250,000 lives were lost (Kinzer, 23)


Charles R. Burrow of the U.S inter- American affairs bureau held the view that the US intervention was necessitated by the fact that Guatemala had become a threat to the US interest, and in this case, the matter referred to Honduras and Salvador. During President Arbenz’s reign, analysts noted that Guatemala’s economy was showing steady growth and that Arbenz was winning with an absolute majority. The win happened to convince the world that democracy was reasserting itself in the said country. From Kinzer’s perspective, it is clear that most of the promises were not delivered. In the above scenarios involving Iran, Chile, and Guatemala, the West did not live up to its words. Kinzer thus demonstrates that the influence of the West on foreign countries is founded on partisan than genuine political and economic policies.

Works cited

Kinzer, Stephen. Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq, Northern California, USA: Times Books, 2006.Print.

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IvyPanda. "America's Change Century from Hawaii to Iraq." March 19, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/americas-change-century-from-hawaii-to-iraq/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "America's Change Century from Hawaii to Iraq." March 19, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/americas-change-century-from-hawaii-to-iraq/.


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