Through a large part of the 1950s, the United States was very hesitant to share guided-missile technology with its NATO allies. But by the end of the decade, the U.S. attitude had changed and in the early 1960s guided missiles were being transferred to Western Europe in large numbers. This article considers the reasons for the change in the United States' nondisclosure policy, arguing that the transfer of guided-missile technology became a means for the United States to uphold its hegemony in Western Europe. After much prodding by the European NATO countries throughout the 1950s, U.S. policy makers eventually realized that their attitude had to change if the United States was to retain the confidence of its allies. The change was implemented in basic hegemonic terms: in exchange for recognizing U.S. military and economic leadership, the consenting governments had to be offered some kind of material benefits. Military technology was a central ingredient in the bargaining between the United States and the NATO countries during the cold war. Without the transfer of U.S. military technology to Western Europe on a massive scale, the United States could not have claimed to be "the leader of the free world." The article shows that a hegemonic state must be sensitive to the demands of its subordinate nations if it wants to retain its leadership in international affairs, and that hegemony is achieved only at a price.


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pp. 127-149
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