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The influence of civilian advisors on american nuclear policies, 1945-1963

The analysis will revolve around some of the major turning points in the history of nuclear weapons. In dealing with the Truman Administration, we will describe the administration's efforts to gain international control of atomic energy and the role of the Manhattan scientists in proposing it. We will see how internal control of atomic energy was delegated to a civilian rather than military authority and how this affected policymaking thereafter. We will then analyze the American reaction to the loss of their atomic monopoly in 1949 and the controversial decision to proceed with the development and testing of the thermonuclear bomb. During the Eisenhower administration, we will see how new efforts towards and international agreement on nuclear weapons originated from civilian advisors, but were sidetracked to suit the interests of some members of the Administration. We will then examine the infamous Oppenheimer hearing and its consequences on scientific advice. Finally, we will see how the technological evolution of the American nuclear arsenal was lead by civilian advisors. Regarding Kennedy, we will explore the origins of the new strategy of flexible response and investigate the process that led to the signing of the LTBT.
In all of these events, the analysis will focus first on the decision-making process that led to important policy choices, and then on the consequences of these choices on the international environment of the Cold War. I will make substantial use of primary sources, such as the documents collected in Foreign Relations of the United States, unclassified documents available on-line and personal accounts of the persons involved. Where possible, I will use quotations to convey the original sense of the words as they were intended by the authors. Lastly, I also referred to the works of qualified scholars to address interpretative issues.
Obviously, the scope of this work required difficult choices on which issues should be included and which should not. My goal is not that of offering a complete and thorough analysis of the role of every civilian advisor, but to analyze single relevant episodes and highlight the influence civilian advisors have had. In the conclusions, I will offer a tentative categorization of the relationship of each President to civilian advice. I will also try to explain the nature and the reasons for the changes that incurred in the relationship between civilian advisors and policy-making in the 18 years I examined.

Mostra/Nascondi contenuto.
INTRODUCTION Any military commander who's honest with himself will admit that he has made mistakes in the application of military power. He's killed people, unnecessarily; his own troops or other troops, through mistakes, through errors of judgment. A hundred, or a thousand, or tens of thousands, maybe even a hundred thousand, but he hasn't destroyed nations... and the conventional wisdom is 'don't make the same mistake twice, learn from your mistakes'. And we all do. Maybe we make the same mistake three times, but hopefully not four or five. There will be no learning period with nuclear weapons. You make one mistake and you're gonna destroy nations. Robert McNamara 1 The atomic bombs that the United States dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, 1945 had not the sole consequence of definitively ending World War II, but also propelled the world into a new era. In time, nuclear weapons dramatically changed the way great power confrontations would be handled. The first years of the Nuclear era witnessed a preponderance of the classic military techniques applied to nuclear weapons 2 . The Doctrine of strategic bombardment applied to nuclear weapons would quickly lead the United States to develop war plans envisioning a level of destructiveness without precedent. 3 Soon enough, the political establishment and to some extent the military started to understand that nuclear weapons made military victory impossible. In a hypothetical nuclear confrontation, both adversaries could only 1 Robert McNamara, “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara”, documentary film directed by Errol Morris, Sony Pictures Classics 2 See Freedman, Lawrence (1981), The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy, 2. ed. - Basingstoke ; London : MacMillan in association with the International institute for strategic studies (IISS), 22-33 3 See Rosenberg, David Alan (1983), The Origins of Overkill: Nuclear Weapons and American Strategy, 1945-1960, International Security, Vol. 7, No. 4 (Spring, 1983), pp. 3-71 3

Laurea liv.II (specialistica)

Facoltà: Scienze Politiche

Autore: Franco Garbelotto Contatta »

Composta da 141 pagine.

 

Questa tesi ha raggiunto 120 click dal 12/04/2012.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.