Thursday, December 22, 2011


NSC 68 is a document, written in 1950 to analyze the course of action available to the President of the United States in defense to the Soviet Union during the ongoing Cold War. NSC 68 focuses on the military, economic, political and psychological standpoints of the United States in relation to the Soviet Union.  NSC 68 was presented to President Harry S. Truman by his National Security Council and was primarily written by Paul H. Nitze.  Nitze proposed that the U.S. take a more drastic and aggressive form of foreign policy to safeguard the nation, as well as the free world from communist rule.  NSC 68 focused on the need for a massive military buildup, an increase in military funding for the armed forces, and authorization for the development of the hydrogen bomb.

In response to President Truman's request to the National Security Council, NSC 68 was to conduct "a re-examination of our objectives in peace and war and of the effect of these objectives on our strategic plans".  NSC 68 called for immediate action and contained a detailed outline portraying a proposal for extreme changes in the current U.S. foreign policy of containment. NSC 68 proposed the need for an aggressively larger, and more prepared military, including higher funding to back its expansion.  At the time of NSC 68 most agreed that diplomatic solutions were fully exhausted and military might was the only thing that would slow the Communist expansion. 

NSC 68 was an important Cold War document because it presented a world view of that conflict, which engaged U.S. society for nearly forty years. It portrayed a world divided by an epic struggle between two ideologies, in which the outcome could only be victory or defeat. It provided the justification for rearming the United States after World War II while prompting an arms race. Although actual war with the Soviet Union never occurred, NSC 68 helped put the United States on a war footing for generations, thereby contributing to the shaping of American society and culture during the second half of the twentieth century.  NSC-68 was an important part of an overall shift in American foreign policy to a full containment strategy that was established by following administrations. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Our Days of Weakness are Over!"

The invasion of Grenada, codenamed "Operation Urgent Fury", was the 1983 US-led invasion of the Caribbean Island (located 100 miles north of Venezula).
A bizarre series of events took place in mid October on the tiny Caribbean island. This was the first major operation conducted by the US Military since the Vietnam War.
President Ronald Reagan initiated the invasion, and created the National Security Decision Directive, which authorized military commanders to prepare options for possible action in Grenada.
The invasion was triggered by building tensions between the militaries, and the fact that President Reagan was informed of the "secret" construction of large airports and long runways, which to Americans was a threat of an attack.
There were several hundered American students who were attending a medical school in Grenada, so the main concern was their evacuation and safety.
The people had voted Reagan into presidency in 1980 because he promised to restore the "standing" of the
United States. Grenada gave him this chance..
Vice President George Bush called to report that the Special
Situation Group favored an operation that would not only
"secure American citizens, but restore democratic rule and end Cuban influence...that meant a full-scale invasion and overthrow of Grenada's government.
"If we've got to go there"..."We might as well do all that needs to be done"
- Ronald Reagan
The United States had no choice but to act strongly and decisively in order to defend its nation from any outside threats. The government of the United States had to save Grenada and the region from a "brutal gang of Leftist thugs".
There are two basic reasons that determined the President's decision to invade Grenada,
First, was his concertn for the welfare of American citizens living on Grenada.
Second, due to elements of grave concern to their safety and peace taking place. United States needed to assist in insuring and reinstating peace and stability in Grenada.
The Invasion aimed for and resulted in the restoration of a constituional government. Nearly 8,000 soldiers, airmen, and Marines participated in the invasion. Only 19 Americans were killed.
The invasion was justified and had support of Americans and the surrounding countries. University students were at risk and could have been taken hostage, the US had to take control of the situation at hand.
The problems that were faced during the invasion were due to lack of intelligence.
Americans faced difficulties navagating through unknown territory. An analysis by the United States Department of Defense showed a need for improved communications and coordination between branches of the United States forces and outsiders.
This video shows President Ronald Reagan discussing the invasion of Grenada.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Our Days of Weakness Are Over - The U.S. Invasion of Grenada

After the United States called its loses in Vietnam the morale of the country was down. President Reagan was looking for an easy victory and in the Grenada located in the Caribbean was Reagan's perfect chance. There had been previous conflict between Grenada and the United States after Prime Minster Maurice Bishop who was a moderate Marxist-Leninist began to associate the country with Communist countries. Bishop had felt threatened by the United States and in fear of invasion became allied with the Soviet Union who supplied them with millions of dollars worth of military supplies for free. Grenada was seen as a threat to democracy but the United States did not have an valid reason to invade this reason. Vice President George. H. W. Bush along with a Special Situation group that was set up to handle the Grenada crisis began to articulate what form of military action was going to take place.

The perfect opportunity arose when Prime Minister Bishop had been overthrown by a supposed comrade Bernard Coard. Coard despite his lack of public support became the new Prime Minister of Grenada and arrested Bishop. Bishop was found by his supports tied to his bed along with the Minister of Education Jacqueline Craft and released. Shortly after Bishop's rescue he was again captured. Jacqueline Craft, Bishop and six others were executed. This execution was the leading factor to the United States invasion in Grenada.

The United States needed legal justification for the invasion. Secretary of State Charles Gillespie persuaded six Caribbean Prime Ministers from the Organization of East Caribbean States to sign on board with the United States invasion. These prime ministers signed for they wanted the United States "to take action for collective defense and preservation of peace and security against external aggression."

The U.S.S. ship Guam was told to change its root from it original destination in Lebanon. The United States will ill prepared for the invasion having little to no knowledge of who was in charge and how equipped their military was. Despite the set back in lack of information the United States was well equipped militarily with troops of soldiers, planes, munitions and jeeps. "The mission, code-named Operation Urgent Fury, was to 'protect and evacuate U.S. and designated foreign nationals from Grenada, neutralize Grenadian forces, stabilize the internal situation, and...assist in the restoration of a democratic government on Grenada."

Operation Urgent Fury was successful not only in Grenada but in restore the morale back on the home front. The reasoning behind this invasion is similar to other invasions that have taken place in the Caribbean such as Cuba, the Philippines, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.

The End of the Warsaw Pact

The Soviet Union moved with fear in response to the anti-communist formation NATO . The soviet Union concluded the Warsaw Pact with its satellites in May 1955. It included all communist states in Europe - Soviet Russia, Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia and East Germany. The Pact spoke of peaceful intentions and defense. It allowed its members to participate in any other coalition or alliance but it assured members of immediate assistance, including the use of armed force, in the event of armed aggression from other countries. To provide for military assistance, a Russian Supreme Commander was appointed to lead the combined armed forces of its members. A committee was established to foster political understanding of its members.

In the Late 1980's the anti-soviet and anti communist movements through eastern Europe began to crack to the war saw pact. Members from the pact started to leave because they wanted to get away from communism.

The Soviet Union gave up their control of the war saw pact. A few months later the committee met one last time and they talked about what they accomplished. After that meeting the Warsaw pact was ended.

On March 31st, 1991 the Warsaw pact ended.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Address to the Nation on the Iran Arms and Contra Aid Controversy

Between 1980 and 1988 Iran and Iraq were involved in a war with each other also known as the Persian Gulf War. During the war Iran found it difficult to find nations in which to supply them with weapons in which they needed to win the war. Between 1982 and 1992 the Islamic fundamentalist group, later identified as the Hezbollah, kidnapped over 100 hostages from multiple nations and killed 230 Americans in the Embassy Bombings in Beirut. This was known as the Lebanon Hostage Crisis. The reason for the hostages may very well have been to protect themselves from retaliation of the United States or other countries. The Israeli government supported the Iraqi’s during the war and was willing to supply them with weapons as long as they could be reimbursed from the United States. The controversy began when the Reagan administration officials began to secretly sell weapons to Iran. The plan was that Israel would ship weapons to Iran and then the United States would reimburse Israel and receive their payment. When the Iranians were receiving the weapons they promised to attempt to do everything in their power to get the American hostages released from a terrorist group that was tied to Iran. This changed to an arms-for-hostage scheme in which the government sold weapons to Iran for the release of American hostages. The hostages were sparatically released when the Iranians received the weapons in which they wanted. When America received their payments proceeds of the money went to funding Anti-Sandinista and anti-Communist rebels in Nicaragua. This part of the plan was created by Oliver North who was a member of the National Security Council. Funding the Contras in Nicaragua was illegal as part of the Boland Amendment.

On March 4th, 1987 President Ronald Reagan made a speech to the American public about the controversy with Iran and the release of the hostages held by the Hezbollah.
“But I’ve had to wait, as you have, for the complete story. That’s why I appointed Ambassador David Abshire as my Special Counsellor to help get out the thousands of documents to the various investigations. And I appointed a Special Review Board, the Tower board, which took on the chore of pulling the truth together for me and getting to the bottom of things.”
Reagan discusses how he believes that America deserves the truth about the tragedy with the hostages and the controversy of selling weapons to Iran. Reagan was said to not have known a
bout this controversy until it was shown to the public.
“First, let me say I take full responsibility for my own actions and for those of my administration. As angry as I may be about activities undertaken without my knowledge, I am still accountable for those activities.”
While trying to regain trust from the American people with this statement he admits to lying to them about not trading arms for hostages. The entire controversy revolves around this concept along with the money that was sent to fund another war that we weren’t actually part of. He believed that selling the Iranians arms was a strategy in order to accomplish other goals but in fact it turned into an arms-for-hostage strategy, which is not what they had in mind.
“It’s clear from the Board’s report, however, that I let my personal concern for the hostages spill over into the geopolitical strategy of reaching out to Iran.”
This was critical because of this scandal the United States needed to make sure they did everything possible to release these hostages but in a legitimate way. Reagan also promised the loved ones of these hostages that they would explore every possible avenue to rescue these hostages. On the other hand, suspiciously though the Board was unable to find any information about the money controversy.
“The Tower board wasn’t able to find out what happened to this money, so the facts here will be left to the continuing investigations of the court appointed Independent Counsel and the two congressional investigating committees.”
Though he is willing to again take responsibility for these actions in which occurred it is strange to see that they were unable to find any information about the money. It is possible that Reagan did know what was happening and told the officials in his administration to destroy the evidence, but we will never know. Unfortunately American hostages were killed though many were released it is a great lose for the American people that we were unable to save our hostages from harm. The last American hostage was released on December 4th 1991; while the sad return of the last two deceased American hostages were returned late in December of 1991.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Edward R. Murrow vs. McCarthyism

By the year 1954, in America, McCarthyism had begun to run its course and the Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy who was once an extremely influential voice in America was coming under fire. McCarthy was at the time the face of the House of Un-American Activities Committee.

This Committee was created in 1937 mostly in response to the Ku-Klux-Klan. However, as the Cold War came the focus had shifted to fighting communism on the home front. By 1937 the committee had compiled names of people in Hollywood and accused them of being affiliated with the Communist part. The list was known as the Hollywood Ten and it was the mark of the beginning of the Communist hunt in America.

McCarthy joined this scene on Feburary 9th 1950. He made a speech to the committee claiming to have a list of 205 names of members of the State Department who were involved in the Communist Party. Although this list was not a secret and was not soley based on members of the Communist Party, his speech contained the right amount of shock value to catch the attention of the American public. For the next few years McCarthy began crusading against many members of the State Department and created what many call a modern day witch-hunt.

McCarthy's rhetoric was not just about homefront protection against Communism. He was a member of the Republican party and many of his attacks happened to be people that fell into the left-wing. Many believe that his attacks against the Democratic party was influential in the election of Eisenhower. He was tough on what he called "liberal media" also. He wanted to make it seem that the left-wing was attacking him instead of the other way around.

On March 9th, 1954, respected journalist Edward R. Murrow took to his CBS show See It Now and refuted many of McCarthy's claims. Murrow basically exposed the Senator's lies and did it in a way that used McCarthy's own words against him. He began the report by revealing two contradicting quotes made by the Senator in regards to his beliefs on starting trouble between the two political parties. In one quote he believes it would be detrimental to our society to eliminate the two-party system and in another quote he believes that it is inevitable and that the democratic party is guitly of treason. These two conflicting views allow Murrow to illustrate McCarthy as a flip-flopper who does not hesitate to divulge misinformation.

The Report than continues on to reveal comments McCarthy had made about Eisenhower who just so happened to be the candidate he was backing. McCarthy had critisized Eisenhower for expressing hope that Communism would become a thing of the past and not at the forefront of our political concerns. McCarthy clearly believed Communism was the largest threat to our society and he made many strides to ensure the issue would not just fade away. Murrow then moves on to reveal a statement McCarthy made in regards to a respected member of our army General Zwicker. Although this type of behavior was not uncommon of McCarthy it struck a chord with many American's that were uncomfortable with seeing the soldiers that protect our Country attacked. This was a huge reason for McCarthy's downfall.

An important piece of McCarthy's claims is that he was not the attacker and the liberal media was performing a smear campaign on him. In an effort to be forthcoming with that information Murrow lists certain headlines from newspapers around the United States on the subject of McCarthy's attack on the American army. Murrow than moves the subject along to McCarthy's campaign against Aldai Stevenson. Stevenson was the Democratic candidate up against Eisenhower the both times he was elected. The report reveals a statement made by McCarthy accusing Stevenson of connection to a communist hide-out in a barn in Massachusetts. McCarthy begins his statement by saying "Strangely, Alger -- I mean, Adlai." This reference is too Alger Hiss, a government official who was convicted of being a spy for the Soviet Union. This already sets the tone for where McCarthy is going with his statement. Once the statement is finished Murrow brings out a piece of information that cuts completely at McCarthy's argument. His claim that Stevenson is named on a piece of paper in this Soviet hide-out is irrelevant because he does not expose that there are also three others from the state department that just so happened to be Republican were named in the capacity.

Lastly, Murrow reveals a hearing the McCarthy headed against a man named Reed Harris. Harris was a writer and United States government official. He was accused by McCarthy because of a statement he made in a book he wrote in 1932. After hearing the testimony of Harris and the accusations of McCarthy it becomes clear that McCarthy is really just fighting views that oppose his own rather than fighting for American safety. At the close of the report you know where Murrow stands on the subject and you are made aware of many of Senator McCarty's blunders. McCarthy's response to Murrows clear message was to disregard it as "liberal-media" and then go at Murrow personally and accuse him of ties to the Communist Party. Shortly after that McCarthy was completely exposed for what he was. His continued attacks on members of the American army crossed the line and McCarthyism came to an end.

Information From--

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Postscript on Japanese Skulls

The article mentions how when "Hiroshima: a Soldiers View" was originally published he recieved alot of mail regarding the subject. Most of them were from soldiers and veterans cheering and acknolwedging the trophy skulls, but one marine was objecting to the fact that a common, much envied wartime trophy among the marine corps was a "well washed Japanese Skull".

The vet, stated he was a private in the marine infantry on Tulagi, Guadalcanal, Roi-Namur and Saipan and that he never heard of such barbaric practices.

Fussel explains that there are four possible reasons to how this private could have avoided noticing the common trophies:
  1. he was remarkably careless in his notice of what was going on.
  2. he was more intimate with the affairs of they typing pool well then the line of fire
  3. decently brought up and a nice person, he opted to see no evil.
  4. his memory, like so many others, was happy to erase all evil memories.

Fussell explains how while visiting a friend it took his host no more than 30 seconds to find a shoe box filled with photos depicting the gruesome trophies.

"one was displayed atop a pole, like a warning at the entrance of a native village"

The method of how these trophies skulls were made is particularly gruesome. First they were boiled in a metal vat, and two marines were busy poking it and turning it with sticks.

Then they removed any extra flesh with lye. After that they attached the skull to a string and dragged it behind them for a few miles to get rid of all the extra flesh.

Lastly, they scrubbed they skulls with Lye strong laundry soap, as to get it squeaky clean.

The skulls, were evidence of how well the respective troops had accomplished their mission, which was to "kill him before he kills you". Regardless, it was believed that this trophy habit, was not half as bad or as brutal as the "ruthless Japs" were. The article states, " why have more respect for the skull of a Jap than the skull of a weasel, a rat, or any other form of mad, soulless vermin?"

This famous picture depicts a skull with the inscription, "Found in New Guinea" that was sent to his girlfriend in Phoenix, AZ. Life Magazine featured this in the magazine.

Return Address:
The Reverend Tsunezo Wachi,
President, Association of Iwo Jima,
2-24-23 Higashicho, Kichijoji,
Musashinoshi, Tokyo, Japan, 180.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

                      From Light to Heavy duty

The inexorable progress from light to heavy duty can be read in the history of the posters issued on behalf of the American war effort. One poster of 1942 depicts Joe Louis charging with a slim, long bayonet ( soon to be replaced by the less graceful but more effective short and stocky version) attached to a long, slender Springfield rifle. The caption reads 'were going to do our part.. and we will win because were on Gods side' BUT a year later who is on God's side seems no longer to matter much, for now open depictions of corpses begin to displace considerations of moral right"

The reason why this poster is so significant because posters like this played a huge part in this war, at the beginning of the war you saw these positive, clean cut posters and as the war starts to get dirty and people start to see how horrible it is and how many people are dieing from posters and other sources of media it gets to be prevalent that this war needed to end. With future posters had an ugly cadaver of a tank crewman sprawled amidst realistically messy battle detritus- discouraged web equipment, unused clips of rifle ammunition, His helmet is violently tipped forward, vealing the vulnerable back of his head.


                                                                                 AND THE POINT OF THIS
                                                     this happens every three minutes.

"The total wars of modern history give the decision to the side with the biggest factories"
For every shell Krupp fired- General motors sent back four

"Dead bodies everywhere, some mangled or torn apart, The American and German equally awful. some mangled and torn apart, The American and German equally awful."

"The people had not thought of war in terms of men being killed....
 There is no easy way to win a war, there is no panacea which will prevent men from being killed"

World war II, had a massive increase in war supplies, not only in how much was being produced, but what was being produced. At the beginning of the war no one knew how violent and dirty it would get until thousands of lives started to be lost.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Night In A German Munitions Factory

“Approximately 1,600,000 women joined the workforce between 1914 and 1918 in Government departments, public transport, the post office, as clerks in business, as land workers and in factories, especially in the dangerous munitions factories which were employing 950,000 women by Armistice Day (as compared to 700,000 in Germany)” (

A Night in German Munitions Factory by Kรคte Kestien tells us a story about a typical day in the factory in the life of women during World War I. When the war started most of the men left for the front lines, which left no one to work. Although receiving welfare, women had to go to work in order to support the household. Most of the women, who did work in the munitions factories, chose to work the night shift because they would have to be home caring for the children during the day. The unfortunate side of this is that most of these women did not get much time to sleep before coming into work. This is one of the many things that added to the dangerous working conditions. There are a couple of key quotes that I have picked out, which summarizes the story.

“It’s the ether ‘said an elderly worker’ you’ll get used to it. Tomorrow you won’t even notice it.”

I feel this quote is a great way to visualize the way it must have smelled in the factory. “Munitionettes produced 80% of the weapons and shells used by the British Army and daily risked their lives working with poisonous substances without adequate protective clothing or the required safety measures.”(

“I was working with gun powder which had to be filled into missiles”

“It was my job to reach past razor sharp blades, grab the neatly cut sticks of gun powder and push them across the table where four pairs of hands were putting them into bundles and packing them into cases.

The materials and machines that are described here (gun powder, missiles, razor sharp blades) are dangerous on their own and when you put them together, they seem to be a disaster waiting to happen.

“The machine had severed half her hand” “She simply had not been quick enough”

“Her response, “Thank God, its only the left.”