December 30

This Day in History

Cold War

Dec 30, 1950:

Acheson calls for renewed effort to meet communist threat

In a fiery statement, Secretary of State Dean Acheson declares that the United States will increase its efforts to contain communist aggression and calls upon the American people for support and sacrifice.

The statement was issued just weeks after hundreds of thousands of communist Chinese troops entered the Korean War, threatening to expand the conflict into a third world war. Acheson noted that 1950 had been a "dark year," but also argued that the United States had made great advances in thwarting communist machinations around the world. Nevertheless, he continued, the United States faced a situation of "extreme gravity." "Our freedom, our way of life, is menaced," Acheson declared. In some of the harshest language in the statement, the secretary argued, "The present difficulties arise from the lawless and cynical conduct of the communists who would destroy peace and freedom." Despite talk of peace from the Soviet Union, said Acheson, its recent actions revealed its talk to be "nothing but camouflage to cloak the naked imperialism of its aims." The United States and the American people needed to support all efforts to defeat the communist threat. "No sacrifices are too great when the future of this nation is at stake."

Acheson's heated rhetoric might have been an attempt to make up for his handling of foreign policy during the previous two years, when the secretary fell under near-constant criticism for not taking a tough stand against communism. Attacks by Senator Joseph McCarthy had been particularly loud and damaging. As 1950 drew to a close Acheson took a hard-line, declaring that the United States was willing and able to meet any challenge posed by the communists and that American commitment to Korea would not falter.

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