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President Truman receives NSC-68

Milestones: 1945–1952

❶Second, the Soviet Union , unlike previous aspirants to hegemony, is animated by a new fanatic faith, antithetical to our own, and seeks to impose its absolute authority over the rest of the world. The Secretary of State listed seven areas in which the Soviet Union could modify its behavior in such a way as to permit co-existence in reasonable security.

NSC 68: A Cold War Policy Paper

National Security Council Memorandum Number 68 (1950)
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Two complex sets of factors have now basically altered this historic distribution of power. First, the defeat of Germany and Japan and the decline of the British and French Empires have interacted with the development of the United States and the Soviet Union in such a way that power increasingly gravitated to these two centers.

Second, the Soviet Union , unlike previous aspirants to hegemony, is animated by a new fanatic faith, antithetical to our own, and seeks to impose its absolute authority over the rest of the world. Conflict has, therefore, become endemic and is waged, on the part of the Soviet Union , by violent or non-violent methods in accordance with the dictates of expediency.

With the development of increasingly terrifying weapons of mass destruction, every individual faces the ever-present possibility of annihilation should the conflict enter the phase of total war.

Our overall policy at the present time may be described as one designed to foster a world environment in which the American system can survive and flourish. It therefore rejects the concept of isolation and affirms the necessity of our positive participation in the world community.

This broad intention embraces two subsidiary policies. One is a policy which we would probably pursue even if there were no Soviet threat. It is a policy of attempting to develop a healthy international community. The other is the policy of "containing" the Soviet system. These two policies are closely interrelated and interact on one another. Nevertheless, the distinction between them is basically valid and contributes to a clearer understanding of what we are trying to do.

As for the policy of "containment," it is one which seeks by all means short of war to 1 block further expansion of Soviet power, 2 expose the falsities of Soviet pretensions, 3 induce a retraction of the Kremlin's control and influence, and 4 in general, so foster the seeds of destruction within the Soviet system that the Kremlin is brought at least to the point of modifying its behavior to conform to generally accepted international standards.

A thorough knowledge of this document is required for understanding U. After reading this document, they rapidly recognized the need for militarization out of the interest of self-preservation.

In other words, the aggressive nature of Soviet expansion required a strong response from the U. This, of course, was phrased in a context of military exploits referring to the military victory in World War I and World War II , and therefore emphasized military expansion. Also crucial in understanding this document is the language.

Indeed, primary sources must be read carefully, in order to recognize themes or motifs. Adjectives provide valuable insight into the motives of this document's authors, and the impression it had on its intended audience.

An example is the description of the international situation, as provoked by the Soviet Union, as endemic. By using this language, it is clear that the authors wished to portray the Soviet Union as a sickness, and the U. This message was received loud and clear, and dominated many foreign policy decisions throughout the Cold War. When the report was sent to top officials in the Truman administration for review before its official delivery to the President, many of them scoffed at its arguments.

Willard Thorp questioned its contention that the "USSR is steadily reducing the discrepancy between its overall economic strength and that of the United States. The actual gap is widening in our favor. Steel production in the US outpaced the Soviet Union by 2 million tons; stockpiling of goods and oil production both far exceeded Soviet amounts.

Kennan, although "father" of the containment policy, also disagreed with the document, particularly its call for massive rearmament FRUS, , Vol. Truman , even after the Soviets became a nuclear power, sought to curb military spending. In the ensuing two months, little progress was made on the report. By June, Nitze had practically given up on it. But on 25 June , North Korean forces crossed the 38th parallel north.

As Acheson later remarked: The Truman Administration began a nationwide public relations campaign to convince Congress and opinion-setters of the need for strategic rearmament and containment of Soviet communism.

It had to overcome isolationists, including Senator Robert A. Taft , who wanted less world involvement, as well as intense anti-Communists such as James Burnham who proposed an alternative strategy of rollback that would eliminate Communism or perhaps launch a preemptive war.

The State Department and the White House used the North Korean attack of June and the see-saw battles during the first few months of the Korean War to steer congressional and public opinion toward a course of rearmament between the two poles of preventive war and isolationism. It was an important part of an overall shift in American foreign policy to a comprehensive containment strategy that was confirmed by successive administrations.

In scholar Paul Y. This document is critical to understanding the Cold War with its effect on similar national security documents such as the National Security Strategy March , but also provides insight to current US foreign policy.

By signing the document, Truman provided a clearly defined and coherent US policy that did not really exist previously. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A Strategy of Containment: National Security Council Paper NSC 68

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NSC was a Top-Secret report written by Paul Nitze of the US State Department’s Policy Planning Office. Presented to President Harry Truman on April 14, , the document concluded that, following the end of WWII, revived Russian expansionism required the United States to embark upon a massive political, economic, and military build-up to contain the Soviet threat and expansion of Communism.

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nsc, National Security Council Paper NSC (entitled “United States Objectives and Programs for National Security” and frequently referred to as NSC) was a Top-Secret report completed by the U.S. Department of State’s Policy Planning Staff on April 7,

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President Harry S. Truman receives National Security Council Paper Number 68 (NSC). The report was a group effort, created with input from the Defense Department, the State Department, the CIA, and other interested agencies; NSC formed the basis for . "A Report to the National Security Council - NSC 68", April 12, President's Secretary's File, Truman Papers.

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National Security Council Paper Number 68 (NSC #68), a policy directive signed by President Harry S. Truman in September , initiated a militarized, global concept of U.S. Cold War containment strategy against the Soviet Union. Start studying hist chapter Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools.