A Short History of the Department of State

Containment and Cold War, 1945-1961

The Department of State reached the zenith of its power and influence in the period immediately after World War II under the guidance of three strong and influential Secretaries of State: George Marshall, Dean Acheson, and John Foster Dulles. The “Cold War” brought major changes to U.S. policy abroad, while McCarthyism targeted the Department at home.