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Cold War: No First Strike Policy

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  • Cold War: No First Strike Policy

    The Cold War is empitomized by the fear of nuclear war. I don't think this had to happen though. All of World War II transpired without the use of chemical and biological agents being used in Europe and Asia (except some nefarious crap done in the first two years of their war in China).

    Why not repeat it? Simply put, sometime in the 50s, as it becomes clear even the US bases in the Dakots can be hit, have the leaders assemble and sign a no first strike treaty. All powers agree not to use nukes except in retailiation. Would this do anything. I say yes. Human can again wage war, as is their wont, without being paranoid and nueotic about their need for bloodlust.

    So what's the best way to have the Superowers and other nuclear powers, to come together to decide the end of the peace does not mean the end of mankind? ANy after effects?
    How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
    275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

  • #2
    Good question. Being a former Cold War Warrior, I think that not much would change. The only exception being having an increase of "other" parties doing the dirtywork for the super/nuke powers.

    I still believe even now that if you follow the buck, you will find it ends up in one superpowers neighborhood or another.

    Group x carries AK's they got from nation Y, who got them from superpower Z.

    Giving the superpowers the go-ahead to wage war, I believe, will end up with one side losing and then saying to Hell with this and unleash the hounds so to speak.
    In Vino Veritas

    Comment


    • #3
      THat's the answer I was afraid of. I'm bloodless enough to say a Third World War with 100s of millions of deaths is preferable to nuclear annihilation of the majority of the species.

      It has been suggested, and I am reading a guy named Bevin ALexander who states bluntly, that no responsible leader will ever use nuclear weapons because any use would lead to counterstrikes and the who system would catasphize into Armageddon. Reagan never ruled out war with the Soviet Union, but he said very forcefully nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought.

      My personal assessment is that nukes would be used as bargaining chips. In the Cold War, any protracted struggle between the West and the Soviets would end in Western victory. That said, Moscow could save it's skin by hinting nukes could come out to play, and thus while the Soviet bloc would be liberated, the USSR could survive in a far more isolated form.

      I figure a formal treaty might ease fears of nuclear war, but would increase tensions in the proxy wars as theoretically, they could intervene more directly and not be destroyed for it. But a formal treaty is more important than the Cold War, because there must be some rules in war, because wars cannot be stopped. It is human nature to war, and the survival of the species must have an important spot in consideration. Otherwise, we could very well get MAD as a result of a lack of doctrine or trustfullness that the otherside won't nuke us to nothing pre-emptively. Kinda a prisoner's game maybe.
      How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
      275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

      Comment


      • #4
        Had there been no first strike policy, as a worst case the WTO takes Germany, the low countries and Italy, Norway, Greece and France all are taken over by their communist and socialist parties. They arm and supply and overthrow of the Franco regime. The grip tightens even more on Eastern Europe.

        Turkey and the UK remain the only stalwarts in Europe and the USSR extends the Warsaw Pact to the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, again with the possible exception of France which probably wishes to remain aloof even with a communist government.

        The US ultimately goes isolationist and even possibly reactionary. then it remains to be seen who pops the first nuke.
        "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
        George Mason
        Co-author of the Second Amendment
        during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

        Comment


        • #5
          Do you honestly think the Warsaw Pact could win a conventional hot war quickly enough to do all that? I ask that honestly because the general jist is that from the late 60s on, NATO was so technologicaly advanced even with the gutting the US Army went through in Vietnam, they would win hands down. Nonetheless, despite a larger number of Warsaw Pact troops, it does not seem to me that Europe was doomed if the Reds breeched the Fulda Gap. ANd note this no first strike policy is only for atom bombs. Conventional bombing of Warsaw Pact forces by SAC and such would have been devistating.

          But again, CK, you said this was worst case. The worst case scenario of atomic warfare is the extinction of mankind. Even a mankind shakled by Communism is preferable to a mankind that exsists only in the fossil record. And me saying that is something; I'm a fairly foaming at the mouth anti-communist. But survival is more important than anything else, as even a yoked mankind could rebel or wait for the rot that is inherent in all manner of totalitarianism to take it's toll and leve a gutted and gray world not unlike Eastern Europe in the late 80s. That sucks, but mankind would have a chance to start again. None of that is possible in the worst case atomic war.
          How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
          275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Wolery View Post
            I'm a fairly foaming at the mouth anti-communist.
            And it really shows as even in Tom Clancy's novel the two sides reach a stalemate in early 80's - and this is a scenario where pretty much all things go the American way with a few minor exceptions just for the dramatic effect.
            www.histours.ru

            Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

            Comment


            • #7
              The Cold War is empitomized by the fear of nuclear war. I don't think this had to happen though. All of World War II transpired without the use of chemical and biological agents being used in Europe and Asia (except some nefarious crap done in the first two years of their war in China).

              Why not repeat it? Simply put, sometime in the 50s, as it becomes clear even the US bases in the Dakots can be hit, have the leaders assemble and sign a no first strike treaty. All powers agree not to use nukes except in retailiation. Would this do anything. I say yes. Human can again wage war, as is their wont, without being paranoid and nueotic about their need for bloodlust.

              So what's the best way to have the Superowers and other nuclear powers, to come together to decide the end of the peace does not mean the end of mankind? ANy after effects?
              It would have made virtually no difference whatsoever. First and foremost, one does not make plans based on what you "hope" your opponent will do, but what he CAN do. Second, you NEVER remove an option from your strategic plan beforehand. I don't think anyone including Nitze, Kissinger, Perle, Luttwak, et al ever would have countenanced a "First Strike", but they certainly planned for it as well as defending against one. The very act in fact is somewhat ludicrous since no one, particularly during the missile era, had ever tested the product in anything resembling actual wartime conditions to say nothing of the scale required. Third, and perhaps most importantly, war, once commenced is outside the realm of "rational planning". Escalation of the modes of terror is a given. The mindset of the leaders of the US and USSR would not have rested any easier in a confrontation knowing they had a treaty abrogating the use of a nuclear first strike. Indeed, they would be idiots if they did.

              A more plausible "what if", at least with what you seem to have in mind, would be if the A & H bombs had never been invented.

              Comment


              • #8
                Had there been no first strike policy, as a worst case the WTO takes Germany, the low countries and Italy, Norway, Greece and France all are taken over by their communist and socialist parties. They arm and supply and overthrow of the Franco regime.
                Presumably you mean the Warsaw Pact and not the World Trade Organization. In any event this would indeed be a "worst case scenario" (leave off the pizzas before you go to bed at night). However, even in an alternate universe without nuclear weapons it bears little semblance to reality. The Soviet Union had no military ambitions in western Europe and the Marshall Plan did much to remove the political/economic impetus for communist spread.

                Do you honestly think the Warsaw Pact could win a conventional hot war quickly enough to do all that? I ask that honestly because the general jist is that from the late 60s on, NATO was so technologicaly advanced even with the gutting the US Army went through in Vietnam, they would win hands down.
                I served in the early 70s with people who had served in the combat arms in western Europe and their general consensus was that the Warsaw Pact would have gone through them like **** through a goose. Their purpose there was far more political than it was military - to stiffen the morale of the west Germans and to provide a trip wire for any Soviet aggression. Of course, the concept of the "trip wire" rested on potential nuclear retaliation.

                But survival is more important than anything else, as even a yoked mankind could rebel or wait for the rot that is inherent in all manner of totalitarianism to take it's toll and leve a gutted and gray world not unlike Eastern Europe in the late 80s. That sucks, but mankind would have a chance to start again. None of that is possible in the worst case atomic war.
                An "atomic war", at least until approximately the late 60s may not have been all that apocalyptic outside of Europe. The arsenals were not all that large, particularly in the Soviet Union, and the weapons not nearly as destructive. Henry Kissinger (bless his hard little heart) made his early fame in 1957 with "Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy" where he argued that "with proper tactics, nuclear war need not be as destructive as it appears". It was a "Book-of-the-Month Club" selection and made the best sellers list. And one wonders why the Soviets were nervous?

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree with you about the mindsets not being changed, though for vastly different reasons. You seem to say nuclear war was inevitable, mine is that nuclear war was in practice almost iniveitable.

                  But I do ask, when you talk of the trip wire and the Bloc going through it like crap through a goose, do you refer to all NATO forces, including the Bundeswehr or just the Americans? I ask because if it is the latter, the West Germans would be aware from the get go, they would be overrun, so any attempt to salve their fears would be totaly ineffective. In short in a conventional war, West Germany's only hope would be in liberation by NATO forces driving towards Warsaw on the way to Moscow.
                  How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
                  275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You seem to say nuclear war was inevitable, mine is that nuclear war was in practice almost iniveitable.
                    Really!!?? Inevitable?? I don't think so.

                    But I do ask, when you talk of the trip wire and the Bloc going through it like crap through a goose, do you refer to all NATO forces, including the Bundeswehr or just the Americans? I ask because if it is the latter, the West Germans would be aware from the get go, they would be overrun, so any attempt to salve their fears would be totaly ineffective. In short in a conventional war, West Germany's only hope would be in liberation by NATO forces driving towards Warsaw on the way to Moscow.
                    I think I know what you're trying to say, but the "stiffen the morale" aspect is a political, not military term. The US military presence in Germany at the time was like the TSA standing at the Fulda Gap checking your carry-on.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Wolery View Post
                      So what's the best way to have the Superowers and other nuclear powers, to come together to decide the end of the peace does not mean the end of mankind? ANy after effects?
                      So basicly you say that "nuclear deterrence" in reality was an obstacle to the world peace, no?
                      Kind regards
                      Igor

                      * My grandfathers WW2 memoirs - Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, 1944-1945.
                      * On the question of "2 mil. rapes" by RKKA
                      * Verdicts of RKKA Military Tribunals for crimes against civilians in 1945

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Egorka View Post
                        So basicly you say that "nuclear deterrence" in reality was an obstacle to the world peace, no?
                        In the long term, hell yes. Humans are powermongering, bloodthirsty heynas. We as Human beings have no capaicity to stop the march to war. We can curtail it, we can limit it, but in the end we are the same murderous moneys we were a million plus years ago in the Great Rift. The blood must flow, and with that in mind we need rules to play by so the morons among us don't off the speicies in the process of whatever spat is going on at the moment.

                        And Dakooch, can you explain to me what you are saying. I typoed when I typed that first sentence. Nuclear war in my opinion was virtually IMPOSSIBLE. Even politicians understand nuclear war can only be one if YOU are the only party with them. But if you didn't say you thought nuclear war was not invitable, then why say the no first strike policy was do nothing. And I'm not sure where we are miscomminicating about NATO. Why should West Germany fight in NATO when it knows the forces they host are at best a speed bump? And we all know that America could quickly outproduce the whole Soviet Bloc in a long conventional war. I don't understand why there would be minimal commitment to West Germany's defense when W. Germany was our best ally on the continent and the backbone of European NATO (though that might depend on how much the French would cooperate). So was the plan to LET the Warsaw Pact in, overrun Western Europe and then bomb Bloc to **** nuclear or conventional and do another D-Day? This isn't quite making sense.
                        How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
                        275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          And Dakooch, can you explain to me what you are saying. I typoed when I typed that first sentence. Nuclear war in my opinion was virtually IMPOSSIBLE. Even politicians understand nuclear war can only be one if YOU are the only party with them. But if you didn't say you thought nuclear war was not invitable, then why say the no first strike policy was do nothing.
                          Nothing is impossible. Once you have nuclear weapons you need to plan for worst case scenarios in which you will use them. Various scenarios were promulgated by those people I mentioned and others. Counterforce, Counterstrike, Countervalue. The "flexible" response short of "massive retaliation". It became a whole field of study. Various weapons and weapon systems were devised to address these factors. The "triad" of land-based bombers, ICBMs and missile submarines, to say nothing of tactical nuclear weapons. Did this mean nuclear war was inevitable? Well, no. (The definition of which, in case that's the problem is, "impossible to avoid or prevent") In fact one could make a very good argument that not only did the "balance of terror" prevent nuclear war, but it did much to constrain the NATO and Warsaw Pact countries from exercising ANY military option that might involve a military confrontation with each other because everyone realized that military action, once begun, is invariably prone to escalation. The concept of US forces as "speed bump" may seem to make no sense to you from a strictly military standpoint, but they were obviously sufficient to prevent the Warsaw Pact from ever actually over-running them because they had to worry about our response. Hence, the "trip-wire" concept.

                          One could make a very convincing argument that nuclear weapons, in fact, may have staved off a Third World War which, even absent nuclear weapons, would have been far more devastating than the Second.



                          I don't understand why there would be minimal commitment to West Germany's defense when W. Germany was our best ally on the continent and the backbone of European NATO (though that might depend on how much the French would cooperate). So was the plan to LET the Warsaw Pact in, overrun Western Europe and then bomb Bloc to **** nuclear or conventional and do another D-Day? This isn't quite making sense.
                          Well, I guess the short answer would be that "it worked". The longer answer would be that the United States could not afford (both economically & politically) BOTH a huge nuclear arsenal and stationing the required standing army in Europe. Nor would the West Germans have put up with it. Although there were many arguments about the size of the force in West Germany, it was sufficient to let the W. Germans (and more importantly, the Warsaw Pact) know that we were committed to the defense of Western Europe.

                          Within this overall context, the idea of arguing over what an actual conventional scenario would look like should the Warsaw Pact invade Western Europe is just as silly as arguing whether "throw-weight" or accuracy is more important in an ICBM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Wolery View Post
                            It has been suggested, and I am reading a guy named Bevin ALexander who states bluntly, that no responsible leader will ever use nuclear weapons because any use would lead to counterstrikes and the who system would catasphize into Armageddon. Reagan never ruled out war with the Soviet Union, but he said very forcefully nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought.
                            Reagan and his planning staff did have a nuclear war fighting strategy i.e. it could be fought, and won.
                            Last edited by At ease; 11 Dec 09, 22:56.
                            "It's like shooting rats in a barrel."
                            "You'll be in a barrel if you don't watch out for the fighters!"

                            "Talking about airplanes is a very pleasant mental disease."
                            — Sergei(son of Igor) Sikorsky, 'AOPA Pilot' magazine February 2003.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Reagan and his planning staff did have a nuclear war fighting strategy i.e. it could be fought, and won.
                              Not to defend Reagan, but EVERYBODY had a nuclear war fighting strategy. Obama (or at least the JCS) has a war fighting strategy because you ALWAYS plan for a worst case scenario. It is also unlikely that there were very many, even in the Reagan administration who thought such an enterprise was "winnable" in any conventional sense of that term.

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