“Our Plans Might Not be Purely Defensive”

Leading NATO into the Nuclear Era
  • Andrew M Johnston


In the legends of nuclear strategy,NATO’s primal scene came at the end of 1954. The EDC had collapsed a few months earlier; two years of Republican rule had unnerved the allies who suspected the New Look was the work of a neo-isolationist ghost moving through the halls of Congress and the White House. And yet, by mid-1954 the formal integration of nuclear weapons into NATO war plans was under way.As the last chapter saw, pressure for a reevaluation of strategy came from many directions.The new JCS saw integration as a way of eliminating obstacles to a preemptive strategy they thought necessary to fight a nuclear war that might be induced by their “bold” plan to end the Cold War. John Foster Dulles demanded a NATO-wide affirmation of Massive Retaliation so America could rediscover its spiritual mission. First-use came out of the confluence of all these forces, but primarily from an inarticulate desire on the part of the United States to universalize its strategic culture in the new Atlantic community.This demanded a resocialized European identity, in which traditional national biases were displaced by an acceptance of the interest the United States had in holding a free hand over the decision to execute a war.


Nuclear Weapon Nuclear Force Free World Pearl Harbor Conventional Force 
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Copyright information

© Andrew M. Johnston 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew M Johnston
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Western OntarioLondonUK

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