What Makes Deterrence Work? Cases from 1900 to 1980

  • Paul Huth
Part of the Advances in Foreign Policy Analysis book series (AFPA)


The use of military force to achieve foreign policy objectives is an enduring feature of international politics. Force, or the threat of force, may be used either to change the status quo or to maintain it. Threatening the use of force to maintain the status quo often takes the form of deterrence, defined by Patrick Morgan as “the threat to use force in response as a way of preventing the first use of force by someone else.”1 Deterrence sometimes succeeds and sometimes fails. Failures are attested to by numerous international wars of history. In the nuclear age, a failure could cost us our lives. The conditions of successful deterrence thus require thorough logical and empirical analysis.


Nuclear Weapon Global Community Military Force Military Power Economic Linkage 


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  1. 1.
    Patrick Morgan, Deterrence: A Conceptual Analysis (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1983, 2nd edition), 11.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Bruce Russett, “The Calculus of Deterrence,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 7 (March 1963), 97–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 13.
    H. K. Tillema and J. R. Van Wingen, “Law and Power in Military Interventions by Major States after World War II,” International Studies Quarterly 26 (June 1982), 220–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 23.
    Sources included Robert E. Harkavy, The Arms Trade and International Systems (Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1975)Google Scholar
  5. 25.
    Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, “The War Trap Revisited,” American Political Science Review 79 (March 1985), 157–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 31.
    Paul Kennedy, The Realities Behind Diplomacy: Background Influences in British External Policy, 1865–1980 (London: Allen Unwin, 1981).Google Scholar
  7. 32.
    Lawerence Freedman, The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy (New York: St. Martin’s, 1981), xv.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Bruce Russett 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Huth

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