Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Werner Lippert, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Sharon Franklin-Rahkonen, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Steven Schroeder, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Thomas Alan Schwartz, Ph.D.


Henry Kissinger has often been depicted as a disciple of Continental realism, and a rarity among American Cold War diplomats. According to this interpretation, Kissinger did not concern himself with domestic politics, public opinion, and economic issues in his diplomacy toward the Soviet Union, and was focused solely on primary high-policy issues such as ending the Vietnam War. However, his later actions as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State under Presidents Nixon and Ford were decidedly inconsistent with Continental realism. This thesis argues that Kissinger gradually incorporated economic issues as part of his "diplomatic arsenal," in which the context of East-West trade facilitated a transition away from Continental realism toward a "naturalized" realism inclusive of more traditional American foreign policy elements. These elements include economic issues, domestic politics, and the relationship between the statesman and the American public.