Massive Retaliation

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


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.


Europe Explosive Dien Stake Clarification 
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Copyright information

© The International Institute for Strategic Studies 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence Freedman

There are no affiliations available

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