The Nixon Doctrine and Europe

  • Laurence Martin


For all who are not thoroughgoing revisionists towards the history of the Cold War, European security has rested for the past quarter century on the American guarantee. This guarantee was issued between 1947 and 1949 as the Truman Doctrine evolved into the North Atlantic Treaty, the first alliance contracted by the United States since its creation in 1789. The guarantee was not, as is commonly assumed, an essentially nuclear one, for it antedated the full dawn of the nuclear age, preceding as it did the invention of the thermonuclear weapon and the emergence of nuclear ‘plenty’. Rather, this guarantee constituted a promise that anyone who attacked the democracies of Western Europe would find himself at war with the United States, and the embodiment of the guarantee in a treaty was an attempt to provide a deterrent certainty of this consequence that had been wholly lacking at the outset of the two previous world wars.


Nuclear Weapon Western EUROPE American Contribution Detente Force Military Balance 
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Copyright information

© National Defence College 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurence Martin
    • 1
  1. 1.King’s CollegeUniversity of LondonUK

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