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Assured Destruction

  • Lawrence Freedman

Abstract

The formula chosen to emphasize the disastrous nature of a general nuclear war was that of ‘assured destruction’. This term is now taken to refer to a nuclear strategy based purely and simply on a threat to destroy centres of population with no alternative nuclear options contemplated at all. It is also often taken as a creation of the mid-1960s, articulated by McNamara on the rebound from an unsuccessful attempt to promote a counter-force strategy. Having first expressed a desire to avoid city destruction, he now decided to concentrate American nuclear power on little else but cities.

Keywords

Enemy Attack Surprise Attack Offensive Force Nuclear Strategy Soviet Population 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 8.
    James Trainor, ‘DOD says AICBM is Feasible’ Missiles and Rockets, 24 December 1962.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    Stewart Alsop, ‘Our new strategy: the alternatives to total war’, The Saturday Evening Post 1 December 1962.Google Scholar
  3. 14.
    Robert Gilpin, American Scientists and Nuclear Weapons Policy (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1962).Google Scholar
  4. 16.
    Edward Randolph Jayne, The ABM Debate; Strategic Defense and National Security (MIT Center for International Studies, June 1969)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The International Institute for Strategic Studies 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence Freedman

There are no affiliations available

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