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Paths to PeaceDomestic Coalition Shifts, War Termination and the Korean War$
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Elizabeth A. Stanley

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804762694

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804762694.001.0001

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The United States, Part 1

The United States, Part 1

Trapped by the NSC-68 Mindset

(p.120) 5 The United States, Part 1
Paths to Peace
Stanford University Press

This chapter explores the interacting dynamics of information and entrapment obstacles in United States decisions about prosecuting and ending the Korean War. The Truman governing coalition expanded the Soviet threat and depended on anti-Communist propaganda, but this decision had longer-term political implications that eventually constrained Harry Truman during the Korean War. The NSC-68 mindset was utilized by Truman coalition members to summon the president's and the public's support for an expensive global policy of containing Communism. It simply did not permit the theory that China and the Soviet Union might have distinct concerns and goals in the war. It also served as a filter on the information that guided policy formulation. It is stated that the NSC-68 mindset blinded the governing coalition to strategic alternatives that may have helped it end the war sooner, and also drove a domestic mobilization effort that ultimately became very unpopular.

Keywords:   United States, Korean War, Soviet threat, Harry Truman, NSC-68 mindset, Communism, China, Soviet Union, governing coalition

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