- Editor's Note
This issue, which completes the tenth year of the journal, begins with an article by Jesse Ferris on the Soviet Union's relationship with Egypt in 1962–1963 during the Yemeni civil war. Events elsewhere in the world—the Cuban missile crisis and the war between India and Pakistan—dominated international attention in the fall of 1962. Relatively few people noticed when the Soviet Union agreed to provide extensive political and military support for Egypt's intervention in Yemen. Although Soviet leaders attached little significance to Yemen per se, they used this opportunity to consolidate their relationship with Egypt. The Egyptians could not have undertaken their prolonged military and political involvement in Yemen without enormous, sustained Soviet assistance. The Soviet Union provided military transport aircraft, Tu-16 long-range bombers, combat pilots, and logistical support for Egypt's operations in Yemen. This episode marked the high point of Soviet-Egyptian relations.
The next article, by Matthew Jones, examines how the U.S. government planned for a possible war against the People's Republic of China (PRC) in the mid-1950s. The administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower was intent on reducing U.S. defense outlays and paring U.S. military deployments in East Asia after the Korean armistice was signed in July 1953. To offset these cuts, the administration proposed to rely much more heavily on strategic nuclear weapons—a theme that underlay its New Look defense posture and "massive retaliation" strategy. Previous studies have analyzed how U.S. military planners tried to convert this strategy into concrete nuclear targeting options vis-à-vis the Soviet Union. Jones focuses instead on U.S. planning for the possible use of nuclear armaments against the PRC. He shows that the U.S. Strategic Air Command (SAC) in its nuclear targeting policy was preparing to obliterate China, whereas Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles were more cautious and were mindful of the serious risks and drawbacks of all-out nuclear attacks against the PRC. The concrete war plans devised by SAC tended to diverge from the preferences and public statements of political leaders, who sought to allay widespread concerns both at home and abroad about "massive retaliation." Jones's analysis of U.S. targeting of the PRC in the 1950s underscores the difficulty the Eisenhower administration had in ensuring that nuclear war planning conformed to broader national security objectives. Massive retaliation as a strategy ended up creating more problems than it solved.
The third article, by David Tal, looks at the genesis and implications of an arms control proposal devised in 1960 by General Lauris Norstad, the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (SACEUR) for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Norstad advocated the creation of an inspection zone in Central Europe that would allow NATO and the Warsaw Pact to conduct aerial and ground inspections [End Page 1] of each other's military forces, essentially eliminating the possibility of a surprise attack. From a military standpoint, the Norstad Plan made a good deal of sense, but politically it was controversial in West Germany because of the proposed inclusion of German territory. West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was suspicious of any proposal that might give even a hint of legitimacy to the division of Germany. Tal argues that the plan grew out of Eisenhower's Open Skies proposal of 1955, which the president's disarmament adviser, Harold Stassen, tried to keep alive in subsequent years. Stassen built on the proposal as he attempted to shift U.S. disarmament policy from an all-or-nothing approach to an acceptance of partial measures. Although Stassen encountered significant bureaucratic opposition, he managed to win the president's endorsement of the inspection-zone idea, and Norstad as SACEUR later converted it into a concrete plan. The Norstad Plan ultimately was thwarted by Adenauer's objections and opposition from the French government, but Tal contends that Norstad's action facilitated a conceptual change in U.S. disarmament policy that paved the way for the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and other limited agreements.
The fourth article, by Marc Trachtenberg, reassesses U.S. policy toward Eastern Europe in 1945. He seeks to...