The United States. Since the mid-1930′s, some U.S. military planners have considered airpower a means of ending a war quickly. Before World War II, they thought that a war could be shortened by using bombers to strike a quick, crushing blow against an aggressor’s homeland. During World War II, this airpower theory led the United States to drop many conventional bombs on Germany and Japan. However, this did not end the war. Germany surrendered only after its army was defeated by Allied ground troops. Japan surrendered after two nuclear bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. U.S. supporters of the airpower theory thought that the successful use of nuclear bombs against Japan confirmed the theory. As a result–and because nuclear weapons are far cheaper to build and maintain than conventional forces–nuclear weapons became the main source of U.S. strategic military power. In the mid-1950′s, the United States adopted the policy of massive retaliation. It stated that if Soviet forces struck any area vital to the interests of the United States and its allies, the United States might respond with a major nuclear strike against the Soviet Union. In the early 1960′s, the policy of massive retaliation was replaced by that of flexible response. According to this policy, the U.S. response to enemy aggression would begin with the use of conventional forces. Then, if these forces failed to defeat the aggressor, the United States would use theater nuclear weapons. The United States would attack with strategic nuclear weapons only if theater weapons failed to defeat the aggressor. In 1990, the United States announced it intended to amend its policy to one in which any kind of nuclear weapon would be used only as a last resort. The Soviet Union. Beginning in the 1930′s, Soviet military planners based their military strategy on the deep battle theory....
pages: 2 (words: 428)