Defending Europe

  • Lawrence FreedmanEmail author
  • Jeffrey Michaels


Although Khrushchev was concerned that the Americans had achieved a dangerous level of strategic superiority, Kennedy did not suppose that any advantage in ICBMs would make much difference in the event of a European war. On the ground the Warsaw Pact enjoyed superiority. Should war come Western Europe would soon be overrun leaving a choice between accepting defeat or nuclear escalation. A priority for the Kennedy Administration was to rebalance NATO’s strategy to ensure this terrible choice never had to be faced.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of War StudiesKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Defence StudiesKing’s College LondonLondonUK

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