A Failed Elite: The Committee on the Present Danger and the Great Debate of 1951

by Isherwood, Paul E.

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis examines the activity of the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD), a citizens committee founded in December, 1950, by James B. Conant and Tracy S. Voorhees. The CPD believed that neither the government nor the people of the United States paid sufficient regard to the immediate military threat posed by the Soviet Union. To remedy this situation, the CPD favored a strong American response to what it perceived as a growing trend of aggressive actions by the Soviet Union and its allies, highlighted by the ongoing Korean War. High on the CPD's agenda was support for compulsory military service for a period of two years for all eighteen-year-old males, under a system known as universal military service. Previous studies have contended that the CPD played a major role in the political discussions on national security in the first half of 1951, known as the Great Debate. Through an examination of the evidence, including the committee's own files, it is clear that the CPD's role was far less significant than previously understood, that its relationship with the administration was far from harmonious, and that its political campaigning was often ineffective at a crucial time in the Cold War.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Ohio University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:committee on the present danger james b conant tracy s voorhees vannevar bush edward r murrow robert patterson nsc 68 great debate internationalist conservatives citizens committees


Date of Publication:04/27/2009

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