The Dilemmas of Deterrence

The idea of nuclear war became unimaginable almost overnight when the United States and Soviet Union tested the first hydrogen bombs in the early 1950s. But for President Dwight Eisenhower, preventing nuclear war meant convincing everyone that you weren’t afraid to fight one. Was Eisenhower playing with fire - or taking the only sensible path? This episode explores the challenges and contradictions of nuclear deterrence. Usha examines the strategy of “massive retaliation,” the challenge of defending America’s European allies, and Eisenhower’s nuclear threats against Khrushchev, asking the question at the heart of nuclear history: Did nuclear weapons make the world safer or more dangerous? Figuring out the answer is more complicated than you might think.    Featuring Dr. Will Hitchcock, Dr. Alex Wellerstein, Dr. Susie Colbourn, and Dr. Marc Trachtenberg

Om Podcasten

A podcast about the dawn of the nuclear age, hosted by Usha Sahay and produced by War on the Rocks, with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In each episode, Usha takes listeners on a journey into the early years of the Cold War, telling stories about the dilemmas nuclear weapons posed for American and Soviet leaders, and introducing a fascinating cast of characters who were all trying to prevent Armageddon in different ways. Along the way, Usha interviews scholars and other nuclear experts to help make sense of the many atomic mysteries that have yet to be solved.