From Nuclear Military Strategy to a World without War: A History and a Proposal

By Roger Hilsman | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter 5
The Debate on Nuclear Strategy

The H-bomb and the lethal potentialities of fallout sparked a new debate on nuclear strategy, and Winston Churchill was among the first to be heard. In a speech in Parliament on March 1, 1955, he argued that there was "an immense gulf between the atomic and the hydrogen bomb."

What inspired Churchill was probably the work of P. M. S. Blackett, who had been a pioneer in "operations research" that had led to the successful convoy system of World War II. Suppose, Blackett reasoned, a defending country put substantial resources into antiaircraft equipment, such as jet fighters, antiaircraft missiles, and so on (this was before the development of ICBMs and other longrange missiles). If so, the attacking force would have to be a fleet of bombers, along the lines of those in World War II. To equal the damage done to Germany by air attack in World War II, Blackett estimated that 400 Hiroshima-type bombs would be needed, and to make sure that 400 bombs arrived on target the attacking fleet would have to start out with 1 thousand. 1

Vannevar Bush seemed to agree; he argued that at least for the immediate future the atomic bomb was not an absolute weapon, in the sense that it was not "so overpowering as to make all other methods of waging war obsolete." 2

The atomic bomb, Churchill went on to say, "with all its terrors," did not carry us beyond the scope of human control. But the H-bomb, he argued, had revolutionized the entire foundation of human affairs and placed mankind "in a situation both measureless and laden with doom." 3

The point was that the same destruction wrought by 400 atomic bombs could be accomplished by about forty H-bombs. And even in the face of an air defense system, rather than 1 thousand bombers, only one hundred would be needed.

-49-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
From Nuclear Military Strategy to a World without War: A History and a Proposal
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 312

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?