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Lecture 5

HIS344Y1 Lecture 5: 5. October 20 lecture doc

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Vasilis Dimitriadis

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The Geopolitical Impact of the Korean War
- Berlin Blockade challenged US and caught Truman off guard
- China went communist in 1949 which all undermined stability
- Truman wanted reappraisal
- April 1950 NSC-68 (April 1958) groundbreaking, set tone of US foreign policy for 20
- Containment policy from Kennan no longer viable for the US
- US had to meet SU head on and in superior position and military/weapons
- ditch compromise, peaceful talks
- containment was no longer sufficient, it was a dramatic and alarming departure but
eventually Truman accepted it
- NSC-68 wanted budget of $12.5 bill - 400% of military budget but still not enough
- Those who criticized it asked, how could it be transborder? How could SU, still in
ruins actually be an opponent? How could the economy actually jeopardize the US?
- Question in terms of military premises, SU had larger military but US equipment was
better than before, the SU could never be a global threat
- Quality of life was greater in the US than in the SU
- Truman however embraced NSC-68 - but what made him change his mind? The
Korean War - SU spreading communist ideology
- critics had to support NSC-68 - how could US combat communism? ALLIANCES
(similar to NATO)
- SEATO - South East Asia Organization
- Thailand, Pakistan, UK, France, Britain etc. to confront communism in China - this
was far less successful than NATO
- CENTO - binding mid east to Britain, Iran, England, Iraq,
- 2 most important steps to counter communism
- A-bomb no longer sufficient - hydrogen bomb
- NSC68 - nuclear weapons not enough, A bomb did not stop the SU
- In 2 days Seoul - needed as many soldiers as SU
- US military doubled to 3 million
- increased divisions for defines of Western Europe, NATO unable to save that part of
the continent
- US increased air bases around SU to show the Russians they were surrounded
- NATO had to be reorganized, how could you defend Western Europe with a
decentralized force? (US)
- integrate all Western forces into one centre!
- give up sovereignty to control command in Europe, NATO and have it all done in
- What was the Soviet response?
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