October 30

This Day in History

Cold War

Oct 30, 1953:

Eisenhower approves NSC 162/2

On October 30, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally approves National Security Council Paper No. 162/2 (NSC 162/2). The top secret document made clear that America's nuclear arsenal must be maintained and expanded to meet the communist threat. It also made clear the connection between military spending and a sound American economy.

The paper began by warning that the Soviet Union already possessed sufficient atomic weapons and delivery capabilities to inflict a "crippling blow to our industrial base and our continued ability to prosecute a war." While in the short-term such action by the Soviets seemed unlikely, this did not mean that the United States could afford to slacken its efforts to stockpile "sufficient atomic weapons." In specific situations, the United States should "make clear to the USSR and Communist China...its intention to react with military force against any aggression by Soviet bloc armed forces." Nuclear weapons should be "as available for use as other weapons."

NSC 162/2 indicated the growing reliance of the United States on its nuclear arsenal as a deterrent to communist aggression during the Eisenhower years. It also suggested that concerns were being raised about the ability of the American economy to support both a booming domestic standard of living and massive military expenditures. Its approval by the President was a definite sign of his so-called "New Look" foreign policy that depended on more cost efficient nuclear weapons to fight the Cold War.

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