Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Dr. Heather Stur

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. Matthew Casey

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. Andrew Wiest

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Dr. Susannah Ural

Committee Member 4 School


Committee Member 5

Dr. Kyle Zelner

Committee Member 5 School



On April 28, 1965 the US military intervened in the Dominican Republic’s civil war. This dissertation argues that the military did not deploy to fight a war but to create a favorable environment for the establishment of a pro-US government. The US military relied on humanitarian aid through civic action programs and civil affairs operations to diminish the Dominican populations’ interest in leftist political organizations and platforms. The civil affairs and civic action programs served to both alleviate the hardships of the Dominican people, turn them away from leftist policies, and build support for a US friendly government. The US military’s humanitarian aid through civic action and civil affairs included programs from entertainment to providing health care and demonstrates that the military during the Cold War functioned more as an occupation force rather than a fighting force. The 1965 Dominican intervention demonstrated that occupation and humanitarian policies continued throughout the Cold War and succeeded in developing stable pro-US governments. During the intervention the military functioned alongside humanitarian organizations, other US government entities, and the first and only western hemisphere military coalition created by the OAS. The use of military humanitarianism illustrates the neo-imperialist tactics of the US government during the Cold War.