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Apocalypse ManagementEisenhower and the Discourse of National Insecurity$
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Ira Chernus

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804758079

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804758079.001.0001

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The President and the Bomb, 1956–1960

The President and the Bomb, 1956–1960

(p.183) Chapter 12 The President and the Bomb, 1956–1960
Apocalypse Management
Stanford University Press

This chapter evaluates the ironies of apocalypse management as they were apparent in President Dwight Eisenhower's approach to nuclear weapons, which would be at the center of national security policy. In assuring mutual deterrence, Eisenhower did not count on nuclear parity, and, from 1956 through 1960, continued to talk of nuclear weapons as absolutely functional weapons, weapons that he intended to use to win, if war came. In addition, he seldom brought in domestic political concerns into conversations about nuclear weapons, and, from time to time, rejected the possible establishing of a preemptive nuclear strike. Eisenhower also never had a clear grasp of the power of the weapons he was building up, and, furthermore, could never formulate any guiding principles to translate the New Look into specific policy directives.

Keywords:   apocalypse management, Dwight Eisenhower, nuclear weapons, national security policy, nuclear strike, New Look

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