Massive Retaliation Strategy

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The atomic bombs may have been dropped in Japan, but their power was perceived around the world. Following the conclusion of World War II, newly-elected President Dwight Eisenhower quickly ended the fight in Korea, and made it a goal to keep the still threatening Soviet Union at bay, while also avoiding conflicts in Asia. Secretary of State John Dulles proposed multiple alliances between powerful countries; however, this proposal lost traction after proving ineffective. Eisenhower also wanted to use technology advances as a means to keep the Soviets at bay, namely the strategic use of nuclear weapons, through his New Look policy. This policy worked to rapidly advance wartime technology while simultaneously cutting back our conventional forces. …show more content…
While Eisenhower poured resources into improving long-range bombers and their techniques, the USSR was making the shift to long-range, land-based missile systems. However, soon after the Soviets launched Sputnik, sparking the space race, the US followed with their own advances in missile technology. Due to these breakthroughs coming at different times, the tactics for the two superpowers were drastically complicated. These advancements also proved that the Massive Retaliation strategy was outdated due to increasing Soviet power. The Flexible Response plan was loosely implemented in place of the previous deterrence strategy. This plan stated that nuclear weapons should only be used to deter enemy nuclear attacks, instead of conventional warfare. This mean that conventional forces would be limited in their use and strategies so that a nuclear war could be avoided. Both superpowers had to ensure that their strategic forces were secure to ensure the “delicate balance of terror,” which would become unstable if one power lost the forces required to retaliate. As the Soviets began to deploy their nuclear armaments, the US rapidly secured their bombers so that a follow-up strike was possible if the USSR decided to actually utilize their nuclear warheads. Military strategy stayed in the limelight during this time, leading to all decisions being heavily examined and scrutinized. Throughout the 1950s and 60s, these rapid technological advances by both America and the USSR sparked an arms race that incited fear and paranoia amongst millions, leading to the implementation of new national security

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