The preceding chapters have touched on the basic theory of the balance of terror, the factors which have brought it into being and its effects on world politics. The formidable task which lies ahead is to consider how stable a balance of terror is likely to be. In a world where, for better for worse, peace between East and West depends so heavily on mutual deterrence through a balance of terror, questions such as ‘how safe are we?’ and ‘how secure is the prospect of peace in our time?’ reduce ultimately to questions about the stability of the balance of terror. How reliable is it? How durable? How dependable?


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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    See chapter 2.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    As noted in chapter 2, the United States administration in the 1960s judged that the Soviets could safely be assumed to regard the loss of 25 per cent of their population and 45 per cent of their industry as an unacceptable level of damage. This was seen as requiring deployment of the equivalent of some 400 one-megaton ‘second- strike’ weapons. In 1974 the administration estimated that ‘even after a more brilliantly executed and devastating attack than we believe our potential adversaries could deliver, the United States would retain the capability to kill more than 30 per cent of the Soviet population and destroy more than 75 per cent of Soviet industry’ (see James R. Schlesinger, Annual Defense Report for Financial Year 1975 (US Department of Defense, 1974) p.35).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See chapter 9.Google Scholar

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© A.J.C. Edwards 1986

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  • A. J. C. Edwards

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