United States, Soviet Union, Eastern Europe discussed on C-SPAN2 Book TV


The United States would unleash its entire nuclear arsenal against every target in the Soviet Union the satellite nations of Eastern Europe and China even if China hadn't had any involvement in the war and it was estimated this would kill two hundred and eighty five million people no this wasn't just a maze planned this was approved by the joint chiefs of staff by president Eisenhower infected it kind of Eisenhower who was sort of a cheapskate I didn't want to spend a lot of money on conventional arms it was believed that the Soviets might make little incursions all over the place so he came up with a philosophy called massive retaliation the ideas anywhere the Russians go we respond in a matter of our own choosing and it was state policy in classified documents that is the armed conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union well then with the use of the U. S. nuclear weapons that was the policy Eisenhower it's not like he was a bloodthirsty maniac but Eisenhower thought that any war with the Soviet Union would go nuclear was inevitable and therefore he realized that what had to be done was to to turn a war from happening in the first place on the way to do that was to tell the Soviets in no uncertain terms that we will destroy your entire country if you do this and that would deter thanks then something happened in the early sixties the service develop their own nuclear arsenal with a very big that they had weapons that could strike us so this became a policy of suicide in the Serbian strangled in western Europe grabbed West Berlin and we responded by blowing up the Soviet Union they could blow up thus and that's when certain strategist first of all to start thinking about maybe we should have some conventional weapons and armies here and there so we don't have to go nuclear right away but they also thought about limited nuclear war Fred Kaplan his book the bomb the I get the well maybe if the war starts maybe we can just launch some weapons at their military forces and then tell them if you strike back against us will take the weapons we have left over and hit your cities now the people came up with this idea first I had serious doubts whether this was plausible they they thought that they had to bet on it they would that it would all go sky high from the outset but they figure there's a small chance that this might be able to be controlled let's go for and so president Kennedy comes into office with with this situation the war plan was still what was called to sign up sixty two you know the blow up everything gets involved in a in a crisis in Berlin the Russians are threatening by the end of the year we're taking over Berlin now most of you realize this but some of you do not listen to West Berlin it was a hundred miles inside East Germany it was a small enclave of freedom and democracy and there is no way of the Russians decided to occupy West Berlin take it over there was no way we can fight them with conventional weapons so the plan again was tough on leash everything and so there was discussions and and these have now been declassified they weren't when when I wrote my first book they've all been declassified now some of them on tape some of them transcripts discussing this and the the idea was okay well what do they do this they they came up with four faces federations coming to West West Berlin phase one was let's send out a patrol phase two let's send out a battalion phase three was are you know what we'll do some some intimidation will fly some airplanes over places will bottleneck some of their ships would do economics sanctions will have the United Nations pass a resolution condemning this and then phase four was nuclear and there is space for there are three divisions not FOR AZ we should have one nuclear weapon as a demonstration of our resolve maybe they'll back off for B. was we use tactical nuclear weapons we we blow up the whole battalion of their troops with nuclear weapons foresee was all out all out war and there were questions like whoa can we just go in for it Hey what's the chance that it would you know we would would escalate to foresee right away anyway Kennedy and by the way there were people among Kennedy's advisors who thought we can only go to nuclear weapons we shouldn't even bother to build conventional weapons because that might convince Khrushchev that we aren't willing to use nuclear weapons the whole thing of a deterrence our credibility and our power was to convince them that we are willing to use nuclear weapons this is the essence the essence of our defense policy at the time Kennedy decided this was insane this was going to be catastrophic and so he decided to do something kind of clever in the short run when Kennedy was elected the president was widely believed that there was a missile gap Russians were way ahead of us in this story by the time Kennedy entered office we started putting photo reconnaissance satellites over the Soviet Union and it turned out there wasn't a Sucka in fact the Soviet Union which was the believed to have two hundred three hundred missiles turned up at four and they they didn't have very much of anything else either Kennedy had his deputy secretary of defense Leon in Roswell ga Patrick give a speech that he'd been intending to give it the business roundtable in Virginia and the idea of the speech would be to announce there is no missile gap been exploiting this he boasted that he said were churning out ICBMs like sausages so this for the purpose of this speech was the tell Khrushchev we know you're blushing here's how many weapons we have so many weapons you have even if you launch a first strike we would still have overwhelming superiority against you and as a result of the two things first that on test of a fifty megaton hydrogen bomb which really didn't have much military purpose but he did it and second he realizes oh my god the the the blood has been blown he really believes that the United States was planning to launch a first strike the survey in and now he knew that Kennedy knew that he had nothing to fire back at and so what does he do he puts medium range missiles in Cuba twenty million a couple dozen medium range missiles in Cuba would be like having a couple of dozen intercontinental missiles in Russia but then we discover it because R. U. two aircraft are better than Christians people thought they were and then here's where there's kind of a real pleasant and not in that thing about the Cuban Missile Crisis are still a lot of myths this was in nineteen sixty two there's still a lot of nonsense being written about the Cuban Missile Crisis which is struck me as very odd because Kennedy secretly taped all thirteen days of the meetings that he had with all of his advisers sitting around you can listen to these tapes you can order them from the Kennedy library you can read the transcripts of these tapes and you know the myth is you know we went eyeball to eyeball with the Russians and they went there's another method on the Friday night the night before the crisis ended Khrushchev came up with a deal we'll take our missiles out of Cuba if you promise never to invade Cuba is turning heads have been plotting to assassinate Castro as we all know now then on Saturday he comes up with another deal creatures as actually will take on this is out of Cuba if you take your very similar missiles out of Turkey the message has been that Kennedy took the Friday night proposal at a New York the Saturday morning proposal in fact that is not about what happened the proposal comes in Saturday morning and by the way Christopher made that public and Kennedy says and it's on the tapes he says well this seems like a fair trade U. N. would would take this deal it's fair trade everybody around the table goes nuts not just the generals everybody Bobby Kennedy secretary of defense Robert McNamara National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy they all all of them say this world this will end NATO this one humiliate the Turks this would destroy our credibility now the plan was that we were going to start launching air attacks on the missiles in Cuba on Monday two days later and he says well you know and then we're going to invade Cuba three days after that can this is well you know simply looking ahead at what what we're looking at you know five hundred air sorties a day followed by an invasion then the Russians are bound to grab the lead in and blood will start to flow and it's known that this deal was on the table this is not going to be a good war anyway at the end of the meeting Kennedy call seven people into his office and tells them that he's taking the deal I'm sending Bobby Taylor and acid rain drop off to take the deal on the condition that they never reveal it and in fact he told the seven people you don't ever talk about this number and he perpetually he perpetrated the method it was the he he he Nord Saturday and Friday because this was the Cold War is it looked like he had made a deal with crucial office would be appeasement and he would be in deep trouble Fred Kaplan on the history of American policy toward nuclear war his book the bomb one of the seven people that he did not tell was vice president Lyndon Johnson who went into the war in Vietnam and other crises thinking accepting the myth that you go I bought I bought you don't back down you don't pursue diplomacy unlike George Bundy in his posthumous memoir regretted that she said it was a tragedy that we continue this life for so many years because it led to false lessons that lead to further tragedies after the Cuban Missile Crisis Kennedy is sitting looking at the defense budget the next year's defense budget with not Tamara and general Maxwell Taylor is chairman of the joint chiefs they're looking at next year's defense budget especially on nuclear weapons and Kennedy says you don't I don't know why we're spending so much money on nuclear weapons seems to me that forty missiles penetrate you know getting to forty to Soviet cities that would deter the money when the when the Russians have died twenty four missiles in Cuba I would have been deterred by that as the conversation went on he said you know I guess if deterrence failed what happens is that I would want to go after their missiles and yeah I guess I don't take more than forty weapons and in that moment sort of summarized during dilemma of nuclear strategy which was yeah I've only wonders to terror you know you say I'm gonna I'm gonna blow everything up you're gonna be dead if you do anything bad but you know deterrence isn't full proof whether deterrence fails can you put it in as many other people to put incense when she tried to do something that brought it to to run to a conclusion that didn't involve destroying all of humanity what can he wasn't comfortable with this dilemma and so he said obviously we have to end the Cold War that's the real problem here we have to and he gave a speech at American University in June of nineteen sixty three basically it's a beautiful speech look it up calling for the end of the Cold War Khrushchev was eager to be listening to this this press reprinted the speech in its entirety they turned off the jammers on the signals for voice of America for the Soviet people could hear this crucial from price that as as.

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