Evaluation of A Report to the National Security Council by the Executive Secretary on United States Objectives and Programs for National Security

         Original copy of NSC 68


This20160126_130623 is original copy of NSC-68, the topic I am doing for my research paper, which isa “primary source.” (I used that as a main source for this evaluation afterapproval from teacher.) This 58-page policy plan document reveals current situations of United States, purpose, it’s possible actions, and recommendations, presenting a comprehensive strategy for confronting Soviet Union and winning the cold war. However, although all part of this government released document was the most useful and important source for this research paper, I would like to focus on the part where Nitze wrote about US situation and conclusion.

This document begins with the origins of Cold War and describes clear but forceful actions of spreading and rationalizing anticommunist idea globally. As response t20160126_130351o this, NSC-68 describes (or assumes) United States as a protector and savior of free world, but sets Soviet Union as a country that is attempting to dominate the world with a dirty greed and ambition. Based on this logic, United States conclude that the Soviet Union, in fact, is the most significant threat on United States history and emphasizes that “the cold war is in fact a real war in which the survival of the free world is at stake.” After concluding this perspective of Cold War and Soviet Union, as a resolution, NSC 68 urges massive increase of U.S. military strength and more spending on economic aid to the nations with a danger of communization.


NSC 68, as a original and primary source of my research paper, it gave me a tons of resources and information than reading a book or magazine about review of this. Although this was written in the perspective ‘at that time,’ which was totally different than modern world where we are living right now, it was somewhat hard to understand, but overall, by providing the detailed explanation, I was able to reach few level higher about the knowledge and analysis about NSC-68 and the age of Cold War. However, though I define this source as the best, it had a limitation of being written in ‘United States Perspective,’ which has many non-sense justifications, and so on. However, with many reviews, such as print book and journals, this empty spaces and weaknesses of NSC 68 were filled in by those, and created a perfect harmony: Primary source and review journals & print books.

Executive Secretary. A Report to the National Security Council – NSC 68. Washington D.C. Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum. 14 Apr. 1950. Web. 20 Jan. 2016.

Reference: e-note before and after reading

NSC’68 Second Source Evaluation: Revisiting NSC 68 by Ken Young

My second source evaluation of my research paper is the journal Revisiting “NSC 64” by Ken Young. He starts with providing a brief discussion of the various historical context of the document, such as a controversies and of usage of languages, it’s styles and tones. After this, Young investigates the historiography of NSC 68, connecting with recent writings that enable us to know think about U.S. foreign policy in broader aspects.

The part of this journal that most attracted me was a section “Continuity or Major Departure?,” and number of thoughtful conclusions that Young brought up. In the section of “Continuity or Major Departure?” Young starts with revisiting the contested issue of whether NSC 68 represented continuity with past policy or a sharp departure from it. He argues that for the defenders of NSC 68, the document represented continuity with the policy of George F. Kennan, whereas, for critics, it marked a sharp departure, amounting to “the confrontational turn in U.S. foreign policy.”(12) Along this, though it did not explained thoroughly, it also revealed slightly about the timing of North Korea invading South Korea, which one of my major interest in this research paper.

Major part of this source evaluation about my research paper was Young’s concluding point, which was mentioned above. While writing this journal, he observes that “The significance of NSC 68 is not that it proposed a new view of the U.S. national security interest” (32) but “more immediate
but ultimately more apocalyptic assessment of the Soviet threat.” (32) Before I started researching, I was agreeing with the first half of the preceding sentence, but with many of basis that he evaluated from various documents, he concluded majorly with Soviet Union.


NSC-68 First blog post

My first source evaluations contains two sources: one of them is a printed book source, “We now know: Rethinking Cold War History” and another on is an online source, from US Department of State, Office of Historian.  These two sources brought significant resources and information that can be used for my research paper, especially, by making me feel these two sources are have similar or even same kind of it but actually different in some aspects, when I was reading them.

The online source one specifically focuses on the NSC-68. It reveals the process of how and what Policy Planning Staff, led by Paul Nitze undertook the comprehensive review of US National Security issues and strategies, asked by Dean Acheson, the Secretary of State at that time, and presented to President Harry S. Truman. It also explains the detail facts of actions, in order to United States successfully defend territory and oversea interests, such as isolationism, diplomatic efforts to negotiate with the Soviets, and the “rapid building up of the political, economic, and military strength of the free world,” with a support of a massive build-up of both conventional and nuclear arms in order to deter Soviet Union. Although this online source tends to emphasize the policy toward Soviet Union, but in the book, Lewis Gaddis does not specifically focuses on NSC-68 nor emphasizes about Soviet Union, but relates with the conflict between the United States, Russia, China and their respective allies from 1946 to the Korean War and  Cuban missile crisis in the autumn of 1962, and explains how NSC-68 content had affected US Policy toward various international issues.

The huge difference that I found by reading those sources are that US Department of State Office of Historian website is not biased since it only tells general detailed facts of NSC-68, but the book “We now know: Rethinking Cold War History” contains the review and perspective of Lewis Gaddis, which makes the process of my research paper source evaluation more interesting by comparing many other perspectives of cold war and NSC-68.