The Massive Retaliation Strategy In World War II

770 Words 4 Pages
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 These advancements also proved that the Massive Retaliation strategy was outdated due to increasing Soviet power.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 …show more content…
These tensions nearly sparked World War III, which is why it is especially important to analyze the doctrines that were decided upon and how they could have been improved. The commentary does a good job of showing how both the strategies and the technologies were constantly improving, which led to multiple revisions of doctrine for warfare at all levels. President Eisenhower made sure to implement a multi-faceted approach to the rising tensions following the dropping of the atomic bombs. This is important because his plan to build an allied force to deter the Soviets fell through relatively quickly. Had he not decided to also use the Massive Retaliation strategy, we may have not been prepared to handle a preemptive attack. Even after this strategy became outdated due to Soviet deployment of nuclear weapons, critics were quick to offer up the plan for a Flexible Response. This plan helped balance out the delicate tensions between the nations by promoting the stabilizing balance of deterrence and also by allowing the conventional forces to fight limited wars while maintaining the strength to take on a conventional

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