With American foreign policy playing an increasingly dominant role in world events of the past century, the international diplomatic community and even Americans themselves have staged heated debates centering on the charge that our government often misreads international crises. Responding to the controversy, Robert Dallek's groundbreaking book argues that the pressures generated by unresolved political and social domestic problems have shaped American foreign policy. In an illuminating examination of each significant period--from the expansionism of the Spanish-American War and the American entrance into World War I, to American-Soviet relations during World War II, the Cold War period that followed, and American involvement in Korea and Vietnam--Dallek reveals why we have acted as we have, often in the face of logic and with costly consequences. Providing a wealth of new insights, he presents American foreign policies in the twentieth century as symbolic extensions of domestic hopes and fears. Reaching beyond traditional explanations of why and how these policies reflect U.S. concerns at home more than realities abroad, this important and provocative analysis challenges thinking Americans to confront the whole fascinating history of American foreign affairs in the twentieth century.