The Korean War had profound implications for the use of executive power by approaching an "imperial presidency". Th president derived his authority from NSC-68, a paper released to him by the National Security Council in April 1950 that reinterpreted both the basic policy of containment and decision making a the highest levels of government.
NSC-68 pledged the United States not only to "contain" communism but to take a further step to drive back Communist influence wherever it appeared and to "foster the seeds of destruction within the Soviet Union." moreover, the document designated the struggle between the United States and Soviet Union as "permanent," the era one of "total war." It specified that American citizens must be willing to make sacrifices- "to give up so of the benefits which they have come to associate with their freedom"-to defend their way of life. NSC-68 articulated the intellectual and psychological rationale behind U.S. national security polices for the next forty years.
By the time it ended, the Korean War had cost the United States approximately $100 billion and inaugurated an era of huge deficits in the federal budget and massive national deb but did nothing to improve the case for rolling back communism. When a settlement was reached in which both North Korea and South Korea occupied almost the same territory as when the war began. Approximately 54,000 Americans died in Korea; the North Koreans and Chinese lost well over 2 million people. The majority of civilians killed were women and children. Nearly 1 million Koreans were left homeless.
For the United States, the Korean War enlarged the geographical range of the cold war to include East Asia. The war also lined up the People's Republic of China and the United States as unwavering enemies for the next twenty years and heightened the U.S. commitment to Southeast Asia.