Demanding Dictatorship? US-Philippine Relations, 1946-1972.

  • Ben Walker

Student thesis: Phd


In 1898 the Philippines became a colony of the United States, the result of American economic expansion throughout the nineteenth century. Having been granted independence in 1946, the nominally sovereign Republic of the Philippines remained inextricably linked to the US through restrictive legislation, military bases, and decades of political and socio-economic patronage. In America's closest developing world ally, and showcase of democratic values, Filipino President Ferdinand Marcos installed a brutal dictatorship in 1972, dramatically marking the end of democracy there. US foreign policy, from the inception of the US-Philippine partnership, failed to substantially resolve endemic poverty and elite political domination. During the Cold War, the discourse through which State Department policy was conceived helped perpetuate these unequal conditions, whilst also at times explicitly encouraging authoritarian solutions to domestic problems. As the Cold War escalated through the 1960s, especially in Vietnam, US officials insisted the Philippines provide military and ideological solidarity with US Cold War objectives at the expense of effectively addressing the roots of domestic instability. The Philippine example serves as the clearest case of the outcomes and impact of US foreign policy across the developing world, and thus must be considered an essential starting point when considering the United States' Cold War experience. Based on extensive primary research from across the United Kingdom and the United States, this thesis re-examines and re-connects the historiography of colonialism, neo-colonialism, Southeast Asia, and Cold War studies. Nowhere did the US have such a long and intimate history of influence and partnerships than in the Philippines, and yet Marcos's regime emerged there; this dissertation presents an analytical lens through which to measure the role of US foreign policy in creating a dictatorship.
Date of Award31 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAaron Moore (Supervisor) & Thomas Tunstall Allcock (Supervisor)


  • World War Two
  • Vietnam War
  • Southeast Asia
  • Colonialism
  • United States
  • Foreign Policy
  • Philippines
  • Cold War

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