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Massive Retaliation

  • Lawrence Freedman
Part of the Studies in International Security book series (SIS)

Abstract

The diminishing credibility of a nuclear strategy and the consequent advisability of a more conventional approach impressed the Truman Administration, but not its successor, the Administration of General Dwight Eisenhower. A year after taking office, in January 1954, in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, outlined a change of direction from the strategic doctrines that had been developing under Truman. This new doctrine, known as one of ‘massive retaliation’, was widely assumed to be founded on an undiscriminating threat to respond to any communist-inspired aggression, however marginal the confrontation, by means of a massive nuclear strike against the centres of the Soviet Union and China. In this chapter the origins of this doctrine will be discussed.

Keywords

Europe Explosive Dien Stake Clarification 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Bernard Brodie, ‘Nuclear weapons: strategic or tactical’?. Foreign Affairs, XXXII:2 (January 1954), p. 222.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Gowing, op. cit., p. 441; Glenn Snyder, ‘The new look of 1953’, in Schilling, Hammond and Snyder, Strategy, Politics, and Defense Budgets; Charles Murphy, ‘Defense and strategy’. Fortune (January 1953).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Sir John Slessor, ‘The place of the bomber in British strategy’. International Affaires, XXIX:3 (July 1953), pp. 302–3;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. idem., ‘Air power and world strategy’. Foreign Affairs, XXXI:1 (October 1954), pp. 48, 51;Google Scholar
  5. idem., Strategy for the West (London: Cassell 1954).Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    NSC–162/2 is reprinted in full in The Gravel Edition, Pentagon Papers, vol. I (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971), pp. 412–29.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, ‘A look through a window at World War III’, The Journal of the Royal United Services Institute, XCIX:596 (November 1954), p. 508.Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    See John Foster Dulles, ‘A policy of boldness’. Life (19 May 1952), p. 151;Google Scholar
  9. Snyder, ȘThe new look’, in Schilling, Hammond and Snyder, op. cit., p. 390.Google Scholar
  10. See also Martin C. Fergus, ‘The massive retaliation doctrine: a study in United States military policy formation’. Public Policy, XVII (1968).Google Scholar
  11. 8.
    Sherman Adams, Firsthand Report (New York: Harper, 1961), pp. 102, 48–9;Google Scholar
  12. David Rees, Korea: The Limited War (London: Macmillan 1964), pp. 417–20;Google Scholar
  13. Robert J. Donovan, Eisenhower: The Inside Story (New York: Harper, 1956), pp. 116–19.Google Scholar
  14. 10.
    John Foster Dulles, ‘Policy for security and peace’. Foreign Affairs, XXXII: 3 (April 1954).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The International Institute for Strategic Studies 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence Freedman

There are no affiliations available

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