This article revisits the creation of NSC 68, a landmark in Cold War history, in the light of continuing historical debates and with the assistance of archival material recently made available. The article reviews the historiography of NSC 68, including controversies over the language adopted, together with recent writings that stress a broader political economy analysis of U.S. foreign policy. The article revisits the contested issue of whether NSC 68 represented continuity with past policy or a sharp departure from it. In addressing this issue, the article looks closely at the style and tone of the document as well as its impact on the U.S. defense budget and finally its convergence with the other transformative decision of the time, the commitment of resources to the development of the hydrogen bomb.

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