Books
Sean M. Maloney

Emergency War Plan

Emergency War Plan examines the theory and practice of American nuclear deterrence and its evolution during the Cold War. Previous examinations of nuclear strategy during this time have, for the most part, categorized American efforts as “massive retaliation” and “mutually assured destruction,” blunt instruments to be casually dismissed in favor of more flexible approaches or summed up in inflammatory and judgmental terms like “MAD.” These descriptors evolved into slogans, and any nuanced discussion of the efficacy of the actual strategies withered due to a variety of political and social factors.
Drawing on newly released weapons effects information along with new information about Soviet capabilities as well as risky and covert espionage missions, Emergency War Plan provides a completely new examination of American nuclear deterrence strategy during the first fifteen years of the Cold War, the first such study since the 1980s. Ultimately what emerges is a picture of a gargantuan and potentially devastating enterprise that was understood at the time by the public in only the vaguest terms but that was not as out of control as has been alleged and was more nuanced than previously understood.
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758 printed pages
Original publication
2021

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