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NSC-68

From Academic Kids

NSC-68 was a classified report written by Paul Nitze and issued by the United States National Security Council on April 14, 1950 during the presidency of Harry Truman. The report has since been declassified and become one of the classic historical documents of the Cold War era. The document was inspired by George Frost Kennan and his "long telegram" in 1946. The report outlined the National Security Strategy of the United States for that time and provided a comprehensive analysis of the capabilities of the Soviet Union and of the United States of America from military, economic, political, and psychological standpoints.

The report argued that the Soviet Union had a systematic strategy aimed at the spread of Communism across the entire world, and it recommended that the United States government adopt a policy of containment to stop the further spread of Communism. NSC-68's principal thesis was that the Soviet Union intended to become the single dominant world power and remake international society through Communist expansion of Soviet authority. NSC-68 would shape government actions in the Cold War for the next 20 years and has subsequently been labeled the "blueprint" for the Cold War.

NSC-68 called for a massive buildup of and an increase in funding for the armed forces in an effort to contain the Soviets. NSC-68 outlined a drastic foreign policy shift from defensive to active containment and advocated aggressive military preparedness. While the writers of NSC-68 provided no financial recommendations on how to implement policy, the policy paper encouraged peacetime military spending.

Truman left NSC-68 unsigned on his desk for more than six months. But when North Korean forces attacked South Korea on June 25, 1950 to start the Korean War, the assessment of NSC-68 was judged by policymakers to be correct, and the military buildup of the Cold War began.

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