To Kill Nations: American Strategy in the Air-Atomic Age and the Rise of Mutually Assured Destruction by Edward KaplanTo Kill Nations: American Strategy in the Air-Atomic Age and the Rise of Mutually Assured Destruction by Edward Kaplan

To Kill Nations: American Strategy in the Air-Atomic Age and the Rise of Mutually Assured…

byEdward Kaplan

Hardcover | April 22, 2015

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Between 1945 and 1950, the United States had a global nuclear monopoly. The A-bomb transformed the nation's strategic airpower and saw the Air Force displace the Navy at the front line of American defense. In To Kill Nations, Edward Kaplan traces the evolution of American strategic airpower and preparation for nuclear war from this early air-atomic era to a later period (1950–1965) in which the Soviet Union’s atomic capability, accelerated by thermonuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, made American strategic assets vulnerable and gradually undermined air-atomic strategy. The shift to mutually assured destruction (MAD) via general nuclear exchange steadily took precedence in strategic thinking and budget allocations. Soon American nuclear-armed airborne bomber fleets shaped for conventionally defined—if implausible, then impossible—victory were supplanted by missile-based forces designed to survive and punish. The Air Force receded from the forefront of American security policy.Kaplan throws into question both the inevitability and preferability of the strategic doctrine of MAD. He looks at the process by which cultural, institutional, and strategic ideas about MAD took shape and makes insightful use of the comparison between generals who thought they could win a nuclear war and the cold institutional logic of the suicide pact that was MAD. Kaplan also offers a reappraisal of Eisenhower’s nuclear strategy and diplomacy to make a case for the marginal viability of air-atomic military power even in an era of ballistic missiles.

Edward Kaplan is Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He is coeditor of Atlas for Introduction to Military History and editor of High Flight: History of the U.S. Air Force Academy.
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Title:To Kill Nations: American Strategy in the Air-Atomic Age and the Rise of Mutually Assured…Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.39 inPublished:April 22, 2015Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801452481

ISBN - 13:9780801452482

Reviews

Table of Contents

Introduction1. Antecedents2. Declaration, Action, and the Air-Atomic Strategy3. Finding a Place4. The Fantastic Compression of Time5. To Kill a Nation6. Stalemate, Finite Deterrence, Polaris, and SIOP-627. New Sheriff in Town8. End of an EraConclusionKey to Sources and Abbreviations
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

"Kaplan draws extensively on archival records, including declassified government documents, to tell the story of how US nuclear strategy went from being focused on winning nuclear war with the Soviet Union to being more in line with the [mutually assured destruction] thinking made famous by early nuclear deterrence scholars, such as Thomas Schelling.... The book is a well-researched, interesting history of SAC and SAC's influence on US national security strategy during the first twenty years of the Cold War." - H-NET Reviews