October 30, 1953 - New Look Policy
The New Look was the name given to the national security policy of the United States during the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It reflected Eisenhower’s concern for balancing the Cold War military commitments of the United States with the nation’s financial resources. The policy emphasised reliance on strategic nuclear weapons as well as a reorganisation of conventional forces in an effort to deter potential threats, both conventional and nuclear, from the Eastern Bloc of nations headed by the Soviet Union.
The New Look policy
The New Look policy was a doctrine introduced on October 30, 1953 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. His idea was to be able to balance the pressures and needs of the Cold war with the nations limited funding. He wanted to successfully meet the threat that the Soviets posed without “seriously weakening the U.S. economy or undermining our fundamental values and institutions.” Eisenhower began with decreasing funds to the army and navy, but increased funds to the air force and nuclear weaponry. He did this to reduce the amount of forces used and boost the United States’ firepower. With the help of the nuclear weaponry, Eisenhower was able to get his way in many negotiations and made many new allies in the process. The threats of nuclear attacks were used often by Eisenhower in order to end disputes or to communist outbursts. Whenever there was an occurrence of communism, the United States would assume the root came from Moscow or Beijing and would threaten their nuclear warfare. These tactics were used throughout the cold war and The New Look became a success during Eisenhower’s presidency.
The New Look policy was extremely beneficial towards the United States’ military status and their economy. The reputation of the United States did not waver during these times and Eisenhower was able to not lose a single man. However, even though the New Look policy was very successful it only lasted from 1953 to 1955. There were many sceptics who believed it was immoral or limiting to America to rely so heavily on their nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union was also catching up, and in the fall of 1953, they were able to test a thermonuclear device, which meant that with further testing, the Soviets would have an arsenal of nuclear weaponry. Although it was short lived, the New Look policy was still very successful in American History.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower was able to create a doctrine that gave the United States two years to prepare for war fare by deterring the Soviet Union. The New Look policy saved many lives and thousands of dollars for the United States, while still maintaining a good reputation. Its significance in the history of America may seem minor, but in reality, it showed a tactic that is not often used in warfare. Eisenhower saw that his country was running low on men, money, and morale so he acted in hopes of preventing another war from erupting for his country.
By Annie Selby
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“New Look: Was the New Look an Effective and Prudent Doctrine?” History in Dispute, edited by Benjamin Frankel, vol. 1: The Cold War: First Series, St. James Press, 2000, pp. 210-215. Gale In Context: U.S. History, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX2876100036/UHIC?u=seve27129&sid=UHIC&xid=3149422a. Accessed 22 May 2020.
Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, right, shown here with President Eisenhower in 1956, became identified with the doctrine of “massive retaliation.” 1956. Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Look_(policy). Accessed 21 May 2020.