History Ph.D. Dissertations


Richard Nixon and Europe: Confrontation and Cooperation, 1969-1974

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Advisor

Douglas Forsyth (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Gary Hess (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Thomas Schwartz (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Theodore Rippey (Committee Member)


This dissertation analyzes the most significant events that took place in United States-European relations during the presidency of Richard M. Nixon, from 1969 to 1974. The first major study on transatlantic relations for this time period, it is drawn from newly released multi-lingual archival documents from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Richard Nixon Presidential Materials Project (NPMP), the Library of Congress Manuscript Division, the presidential libraries of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Gerald R. Ford, the archives of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU), the British National Archives (Kew), and the Nixon tapes. Through a groundbreaking presentation of diverse events such as Nixon and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Henry A. Kissinger's 1969 tour of European capitals, the condition of NATO after French withdrawal and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Nixon knockdown of and subsequent collapse of the Bretton Woods monetary regime on August 15, 1971, the 1973 American policy "The Year of Europe", and the 1974 renegotiation of the terms of British membership of the European Community (EC), this study shows how while Nixon began his term of office in 1969 with a great public emphasis on close ties with Europe, over time Transatlantic relations were downgraded in importance by the White House as Nixon used Europe to launch more important foreign policy initiatives for which he is better known, including détente with the Soviets, rapprochement with the PRC, and bringing American military involvement in Southeast Asia to a final end.