HIST-UA 757 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Dean Acheson, Nuclear Weapon, Plano Real

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Published on 20 Feb 2017
Lecture Notes 02/15/17
NSC-68 was a document President Truman ordered after the Russian nuclear bomb was
successfully tested and the announcement of the Peoples Republic of China
It quadrupled the estimated defense budget
Said that the US needed a defensible alternative to nuclear weapons, which meant
elite combat forces
It was an overarching summation of the problems for the President; the words
within the document became the vocabulary that shaped public discourse
One of the main arguments within NSC-68 is that by pouring money into defense it
would stimulate the economy
The development of Russian Nuclear weapons forces Winston Churchill to move away
from aggressive and hawkish tendencies and policies
The British found NSC-68 to be too ideologically charged regarding the declaration of 2
major powers (the US and Russia) duking it out over domination of the globe
The Prime Minister of India was also appalled by the document, he saw independence as
the great driving force in the world @ the end of the 1940’s
NSC-68 says that the US is the only power that is truly “global”; meanwhile the Allies
interests in power were merely regional
Westerners saw no subordination by Russia within China, only parallels
On the other hand Ho Chi Minh was accused of being Russian puppet
The inclusion of quotes from the Constitution/Declaration of Independence in NSC-68
allowed the authors to conceptualize America however they wanted (focus on the
Notice how quickly FDR’s rhetoric disappears and no mention of the Four
Freedoms for the global community
Built into the stance on the Kremlin in the document is the idea that global domination by
one power is possible
The US believed that they could forget Ho Chi Minh and China existed, bc they thought
that if they knew about the Kremlin/Stalin then they knew everything about all the
There is a mix among the elite policy makes on whether they actually believe what
they’re saying, or trying to convince themselves and the rest of the population
Within the US, there was huge opposition to the US becoming a global police power
(circa 1949)
Cultivating US interests and “containing” Communism were linked, but also had
Eisenhower was a strong proponent of covert war and psychological warfare
Many CIA and OSS members came from WWII who fought Nazi’s w/
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