Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Nicole Phelps

Second Advisor

Andrew Buchanan


Senator Warren Robison Austin (R-VT) was appointed by President Harry S. Truman to be the US Representative to the United Nations in June 1946. While a member of the US Senate, Austin had been a great advocate for internationalism and the United Nations. His tenure as Representative lasted until January 1953. The growing pains of the new organization were complicated by myriad contentious problems, not the least of which was the dawning of the Cold War. Austin was caught between the Soviet delegation, who were bent on opposing virtually all US initiatives at the UN, and members of the Truman Administration who were adamantly anti-communist/anti-Soviet.

This thesis examines the role that anti-communism played in establishing an atmosphere of distrust leading, at least partly, to the Cold War; and Austin’s role at the United Nations as regards three representative issues that confronted the international organization during his tenure. The first issue was how the Soviets and the Western Powers disagreed over the question of unanimity of the permanent five members in the Security Council. Next, I will show how irreconcilable differences between the United States and the Soviets thwarted the functioning of the Atomic Energy Commission of the Security Council. Lastly, the Korean War is examined as the first use of a military response by the United Nations to international aggression.

Austin dutifully represented the administration at the United Nations, but often expressed his own less confrontational views in meetings, speeches outside the UN, and in letters to friends and loved ones. He held the United Nations to be a positive force for peace, while other members of the administration were stridently anti-Soviet and found the United Nations to be the perfect ideological battleground while acting unilaterally outside the organization.

I will show how Austin had an idealistic view of the United Nations and maintained that it was the best vehicle for the maintenance of peace. Also how he was, initially, more even-handed in dealing with the Soviet delegation than his overseers in the Truman administration. He eventually grew weary of Soviet tactics and their alleged aggression in Korea leading him to harden his outlook.



Number of Pages

123 p.

Included in

History Commons