AUTHORRosenberg, David Alan
TITLEThe Origins of Overkill: Nuclear Weapons and American Strategy, 1945-1960
PERIODICAL TITLEInternational Security
DATE PUBLISHED1983
VOLUME NUMBER7
ISSUE NUMBER4
PAGE NUMBERS3-71
ISSN0162-2889
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This seminal article provides a detailed description of the United States' plans for a nuclear war during the initial period of the Cold War. Using newly (1983) released documents, the author focuses on operational issues rather than stated public policy. The contents reveal major trends and priorities of U.S. nuclear weapons strategy during the U.S. President Harry S. Truman and Dwight Eisenhower administrations. Those include the expansion of the weapons stockpile, consideration of preventative nuclear war, and the beginnings of the policy of mutually assured destruction (MAD). The article describes the evolution of a strategy that combined a Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) and a National Strategic Target List (NSTL) under the direction of the Strategic Air Command (SAC). Extensive footnotes from primary government documents establish the validity of the article.


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