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

By Roger Hilsman | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
New Look, Massive Retaliation, and Flexible Response

To sum up, the U.S. response to the successful Soviet test of an atomic weapon in 1949 was not a change in strategy but an attempt to build an H-bomb, a subject to which we will return in the next chapter. The response to the attack on South Korea, however, was a change in strategy. Nuclear weapons meant that if the Allied forces were pushed off the European continent they would never be able to get back. The threat to bomb Soviet cities with nuclear weapons was a powerful deterrent to a direct Soviet attack on Europe, but suppose the Soviet armies occupied Europe in a lightning blow and simultaneously evacuated their cities? They could get their supplies from the farms and factories of occupied Europe, holding the Allied population hostage to American restraint. The Allied strategic planners concluded, to repeat, that an effective deterrent would have to include ground forces stationed in Europe that were large enough to hold back the Soviet forces until the nuclear bombs had done their work.


ENDING THE WAR IN KOREA

Meanwhile, the war in Korea dragged on and on. Casualties mounted. The economic drain on the United States, and in turn on America's allies, was enormous. The Truman administration gave at least some thought to using nuclear weapons to bring the war to a rapid conclusion. But such thoughts were quickly dismissed.

The stockpile of nuclear weapons at that time was about 200. The military argued a twofold position. They argued, first, that the stockpile was not yet sufficient to provide an effective deterrent to the Soviets and should not be drawn

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xiv
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Part I - The First Attempts at Nuclear Strategy 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Manhattan Project and Early Strategic Thinking 3
  • Notes 14
  • Chapter 2 - Nuclear Strategy and the Attack on Korea 16
  • Notes 27
  • Chapter 3 - New Look, Massive Retaliation, and Flexible Response 28
  • Notes 39
  • Chapter 4 - The H-Bomb and the Balance of Terror 40
  • Notes 47
  • Chapter 5 - The Debate on Nuclear Strategy 49
  • Notes 55
  • Part II - The Cuban Missile Crisis: A Case Study of Nuclear Strategy 57
  • Chpter 6 - The Crisis 59
  • Notes 70
  • Chapter 7 - The Significance 71
  • Note 77
  • Chapter 8 - McNamara II, the Schlesinger Doctrine, and Star Wars 81
  • Notes 94
  • Chapter 9 - No First Use, Counterforce, and Mad as a Strategy 95
  • Notes 103
  • Chapter 10 - The Breakup of the Soviet Union and the Bush -- Yeltsin Agreement 105
  • Notes 113
  • Part IV - The World Turned Upside Down 115
  • A Chapter 11 - Developments in Weapons 117
  • Notes 122
  • Chapter 12 - The Members of the Nuclear Club and Their Arms 123
  • Notes 138
  • Chapter 13 - Soviet, Chinese, and European Nuclear Strategy 139
  • Notes 147
  • Chapter 14 - Armageddon: Six Scenarios of Nuclear War 148
  • Notes 163
  • Part V - Arms Control and Disarmament 165
  • Chapter 15 - The History of Arms Control 167
  • Notes 179
  • Chapter 16 - The Prospects for Arms Control 180
  • Notes 186
  • Part VI - Why War? 187
  • Chapter 17 - The Social and Political Functions of War 189
  • Chapter 18 - Nationalism 198
  • Notes 210
  • Chapter 19 - A World Political Process Without World Government? 211
  • Notes 225
  • Chapter 20 - A Curious Creature 227
  • Notes 230
  • Part VII - Conclusions 231
  • Chapter 21 - A Long-Term Solution, a Medium-Term Compromise, and a Short-Term Stopgap 233
  • Chapter 22 - The Lessons of the "Small Wars" Since World War II 238
  • Notes 256
  • Chapter 23 - Humanitarian and Peacekeeping Forces 259
  • Notes 274
  • Chapter 24 - Conventional Forces for the Medium-Term Compromise 278
  • Notes 290
  • Chapter 25 - Nuclear Forces for the Short- Term Stopgap 291
  • Notes 304
  • Index 305
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