Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in History (MA)

Degree Level





Alessandro Brogi

Committee Member

Andrea Arrington

Second Committee Member

James Gigantino


Social sciences, Cold War, Congo, Foreign policy


In the late 1950s, the Cold War competition between the United States and the Soviet Union turned the Congo as one of the most volatile regions of the Third World. Because of Belgium's failure to effective decolonize the Congo, and because of the secession of two of the richest provinces of the Congo, the country would quickly fell into chaos and a civil war that would force its former colonial power to maintain its economic and military influence in the region. This neocolonial attitude induced Congo's Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba, to request a military assistance from the Soviet Union. In response to this situation, Washington was determined to prevent the expansion of Moscow's influence in this part of Central Africa, a region that not only represented ideological and strategic interests, but also considerable economic assets. This study demonstrates the main factors that motivated the United States and the Soviet Union to intervene in the first phase of the Congolese crisis, and the circumstances in which the United Nations, Belgium, and the two superpowers influenced the events of the crisis, which eventually led to the downfall of Lumumba's government.