Jessica Wang


This essay explores Berle’s understanding of American power and its relationship to global order in the era between the First and Second World Wars. I first survey the history of progressive internationalism in the 1920s in order to situate Berle’s approach to U.S. foreign relations and global affairs, before proceeding to a close examination of Berle’s immediate response to the aftermath of World War I, and then his foreign policy activities as part of the Roosevelt administration in the late 1930s and early 1940s. My analysis focuses in particular on his public efforts to promote a transformative vision of global affairs based on two principles: (1) a belief in the exceptionalism of the Americas as a solution to the constant turmoil of power politics on the European continent; and (2) a faith in a liberal international economic order as the answer to the growing geopolitical strife of the post-World War I decades.