14 April 1950
National Security Council Issues NSC-68
One of the most important documents in shaping the history of the Cold War was written by Paul Nitze of the National Security Council and submitted to Truman on April 14, 1950. Originally inspired by George Kennan’s “containment” strategy, NSC-68 was a comprehensive analysis of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the United States and the Soviet Union. It argued that the Kremlin was bent on world domination, and recommended a massive buildup of the armed forces in order to meet the Soviet challenge.

Truman made no immediate response to the document, and it was still sitting on his desk when North Korean troops invaded South Korea in June 1950. This attack seems to have convinced the president that Nitze’s analysis of Soviet intentions was correct, and he gave NSC-68 his formal approval later that year.

- NSC-68: United States Objectives and Programs for National Security