Strategic Factors in Soviet Policy
It is likely that Soviet foreign policy in general and Soviet arms control policy in particular were powerfully influenced in this period by the military situation, including the strategic balance of 1955 between East and West, the weapons and space systems then in the planning stage, and the doctrines of Soviet military thinking that governed both strategic and tactical policies.
From 1953 through 1955, after prolonged debate among the military analysts, Soviet pronouncements came to acknowledge that the destructive power of nuclear weapons could inflict unacceptable damage on the Soviet Union. Painful experience in a half century of warfare made the Russian people and probably also their leaders especially sensitive to the possibility that the Soviet economy and society might be obliterated by the new weapons.
The Kremlin's policy response to the implications of nuclear weaponry in 1954-1956 was twofold. First, the foreign policy line summed up in Khrushchev's 1956 pronouncements at the Twentieth Party Congress on peaceful coexistence and the noninevitability of war reflected a desire to