Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Ryan C. Hendrickson


NATO's success in Kosovo ultimately depended upon each member's ability to carefully balance national interest and opposing viewpoints against international pressures from the Alliance. In reconciling these factors, each country created framing strategies designed to garner public support for its involvement in the military operations. Indigenous public support was integral to each country's participation in these efforts and in NATO's ability to maintain a sustained campaign.

This thesis focuses specifically on the strategies used by the government leaders in the United States, Italy and Germany, to influence public opinion and gain national support for military involvement during NATO's operations in Kosovo from March-June 1999. It examines the political climate and national issues unique to each country as they impacted their relationship with NATO regarding the use of force in Kosovo. Struggles between political parties, control of foreign policy and security decisions, as well as divided public opinion, forced these governments to balance support for NATO while at the same time addressing the oppositions concerns. In order to gain support for participation throughout the conflict the government leaders developed framing strategies for four key issues: the initial use of force, continued support after the Chinese Embassy bombing, the debate on the use of force, and decisions regarding target selection. The findings demonstrate how the interplay between national interests and the framing strategies contributed to increased public support and provides an evaluation of the success of the governments in advancing the overall goals of the NATO mission.