Abstract：The Committee on the Present Danger was born in the national security crises of the post-World War II era. All of the construction of the “national security state”, the experience of lobbying for answering the threat of WWII and the Cold War and the formulation and introduction of document NSC-68 provided the background and basis for the Committee on the Present Danger to perceive and respond to the threat. What’s more, the Korean War cautioned against the military threat from the Soviet Union, which promoted the formulation of a consensus among the national security elites about the correspondent military containment of the Soviet Union. Besides, the government’s limited progress on defending Western Europe led to the founding of the Committee on the Present Danger and the corresponding policies.
The Committee on the Present Danger was an elite lobby organization. In 1950, the committee elite members were extremely sensitive to international power dynamics. They were united by the tenets of document NSC-68, and attempted to impact the legislation to shape the government’s leadership and policy-making mechanism, and took systematic actions to acquire absolute military advantages over the threat from the Soviet Union. Its lobbying activity mainly centered on three areas including sending troops to Western Europe, Universal Military Service, and mutual security assistance legislation. On the one hand, the committee resorted to the media to influence public opinion and educate the public. On the other hand, through hearing testimonies and research reports, it could affect legislation.
The Committee on the Present Danger not only assisted the government’s actions, but also attempted to influence the policy direction. There were disagreement and coordination with the government in terms of policy stance. Therefore, the specific construction of the Truman administration’s military containment policy was competitively and cooperatively completed by both the government and interest groups. Construction of the policy was not completely under the control of Truman’s administration, or solely in accordance with the committee’s advice. But the two sides jointly promoted excessive defense of the United States against the Soviet Union in Western Europe and the changes in the national security system during the Cold War.
Meanwhile, the Committee embodied a classic function of such organizations, the revolving door. Through the revolving door mechanism, many committee members were admitted into the Eisenhower administration and continued constructing the US containment policy against the Soviet Union. The Committee on the Present Danger, as the predecessor of the subsequent committees, provided them with a rich legacy. Although faced with distinct crises, the committee of succinct sessions also reflected the cohesive consensus and praised the security responding mode of absolute military advantage and alliance system, which, to some degree, embodied the persistent influence of the Cold War politics and mentality.
Through combing the corresponding official documents, newspapers and memoirs about the origin, construction and operation of the first session of the committee, exploring the status and function of the Committee and its policies in the Truman administration’s military containment policy against the Soviet Union, this paper is beneficial to the comprehension of the interest groups, and it also provides a new understanding of the elites’ function in military containment of the Soviet Union and in the transition of national security system during the early period of the Cold War.
刘国柱 易恒. 精英游说组织与杜鲁门政府军事遏制政策的构建?——以1950年当前危险委员会为中心的考察[J]. 浙江大学学报(人文社会科学版), 0, (): 1-.
Liu Guozhu Yi Heng. The Elite Lobby Organization and the Construction of the Truman
Administration’s Military Containment Policy: A Survey Centered on the
Committee on the Present Danger of 1950. JOURNAL OF ZHEJIANG UNIVERSITY, 0, (): 1-.