Atom Bombs and the American Way of War

Atom Bombs and the American Way of War - THE EVOLUTION OF...

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THE EVOLUTION OF NUCLEAR STRATEGY Lawerence Freedman Strategy for an Atomic Monopoly Atom Bombs and the American Way of War Detachment; “slow to be roused” but once aware, unbeatable; the fighting was “over there” Happy to keep wars at a distance but desired that they be executed efficiently Airpower + nuclear weapons seemed perfect (means to defeat and punish quickly as opposed to laboriously wearing the opposing side down which costly and labor-intensive) With this new form of weaponry, Americans could now isolate themselves from the effects of war yet decide the issue. It was the “perfect fulfillment of all wishful thinking on military matters”. The Limits of the Bomb No one had concerned themselves with the purposes for which these new weapons would be employed, only what they could do. “Strategy had become separated from diplomacy”. The bomb was an Anglo-American monopoly – the world was “controllable”. Soviet Union became a potential aggressor, potentially changing this monopoly, making war between Soviet Union and States conceivable The Soviet’s sheer size and demonstrated resilience made the US question its invincibility – atomic bombs somewhat built it back up but took Europe out of the equation as a “buffer”. Truman Administration assessed bomb to have limits on its military and political value; however, many Americans acted as if bomb was simply a bargaining card when dealing with the USSR and some had even written off traditional military as obsolete “Spaatz Report”: atoms bombs were scarce (expensive, and therefore must not be wasted) and had limited range (it was necessary to gain access to overseas bases). Ground and naval operations
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This note was uploaded on 04/22/2008 for the course POLI 244 taught by Professor Saideman during the Fall '07 term at McGill.

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Atom Bombs and the American Way of War - THE EVOLUTION OF...

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