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Cold War Statesmen Confront the BombNuclear Diplomacy Since 1945$
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John Gaddis, Philip Gordon, Ernest May, and Jonathan Rosenberg

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198294689

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2004

DOI: 10.1093/0198294689.001.0001

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‘War No Longer Has Any Logic Whatever’: Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Thermonuclear Revolution

‘War No Longer Has Any Logic Whatever’: Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Thermonuclear Revolution

Chapter:
(p.87) 5 ‘War No Longer Has Any Logic Whatever’: Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Thermonuclear Revolution
Source:
Cold War Statesmen Confront the Bomb
Author(s):

Andrew P. N. Eardmann

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198294689.003.0005

For Eisenhower, it was nuclear weapons’ destructive potential, not the image of a protracted conventional war, that destroyed the ’logic’ of war. He believed that thermonuclear weapons made any notion of victory incoherent. Meaningful defence could then only be deterrence. Facing this new setting, Eisenhower reassessed the dynamics of international relations and altered his behaviour accordingly. During his first three years as president, he relied on the ’Detroit Deterrent’, the belief that the US industrial capacity would enable it to triumph in any such war of attrition. By 1956, however, the combination of thermonuclear weapons and growing Soviet intercontinental delivery capabilities made Detroit Deterrent obsolete in his mind. By the end of his presidency, therefore, superpower relations had begun to operate according to this new logic, the logic of ’thermonuclear revolution’.

Keywords:   deterrence, Detroit Deterrent, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Indo‐China crisis, industrial capacity, international relations, Korean War, nuclear weapons, Soviet Union, superpowers

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