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A Summary Of Lawrence Freedman's 'evolution Of Nuclear Strategy' King's College London War Studies Preces

644 words - 3 pages

Lawrence Freedman, in section 3 of his book ‘'The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy'' (1981) discusses the debate of ‘limited' warfare beginning in the 1950s and the resulting view that nuclear weaponry had little place within this ideology. Freedman begins by detailing the emergence of the opinion that, if both sides were to use nuclear weaponry, it would result in mutually assured destruction. To avoid this ‘total' war, limited war theorists began to recognise that future wars may need to be fought within a set of guidelines. Thus, a new concept on how to fight such wars was needed. Freedman discusses the views of various academics, such as Captain Basil Liddell Hart whom he views as ‘the intellectual father of contemporary theories of limited war'. He portrays how Hart aimed to develop alternatives to ‘total' war but was ultimately met with criticism and the realisation that a growth in nuclear power would not result in the receding of conventional warfare. As a thermonuclear stalemate approached, many other academics began to warn of the dangers of a ‘total' war. For example, Brodie wrote ‘limited war must mean also limited objectives', by which he meant that the original American doctrine to win a war through destroying the enemy, was no longer a viable option. However, problems arose from this, such as the fact that a clash with the Soviet Union would be anything but limited. This was the case as limited war required both sides to agree to follow the set of guidelines provided. Therefore, it was of the utmost importance to find a set of objectives that would work in limited war. In the context of the cold war, James King wrote ‘We cannot win the cold war by military means alone. We must live with it and fight it on terms that make sense.' Freedman goes on to discuss Kissinger's view that by having moderate objectives, the resulting war would be less violent. Freedman disagrees, instead...

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