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Strategy, Nuclear

Soon after the use of atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, nuclear weapons occupied a special position in the arsenal of the United States. Nuclear weapons quickly became disassociated from “conventional” ordnance. The field of nuclear strategy within national military strategy became paramount in national security policy throughout the Cold War. During the early Cold War, the new uncharted reality of a nuclear-armed enemy capable of devastating the United States brought planning of nuclear strategy into the hands of civilian “defense intellectuals.” Although the United States deployed tremendous numbers of warheads, and military leaders advocated their use on occasion, the utility of nuclear weapons in war has vexed every presidential administration as a de facto taboo emerged over their ...

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