Some interesting arguments on nuclear deterrence in this addition of Secrecy News. I suspect that there is a rendering in Kaplan’s book “The Bomb: Presidents, General, and the Secret History of Nuclear War” of an event lost to history for more than 30 years which involved the potential deployment in combat of tactical nukes by the Russian commander in Cuba during the missile crisis of 1962. I have not yet read Kaplan’s book but I am ordering it today, as I’m hoping it will assist me with my chapter on intelligence and counterintelligence during the Cold War.
Just in case you’re unaware of the incident to which I refer here’s a short synopsis:
A Second terrifying lesson from the Cuban Missile Crisis
Over the years since 1962 historians have focused on how John F. Kennedy’s wisdom, a naval quarantine of the island of Cuba, narrowly averted a nuclear catastrophe. However, those same historians were unaware of the Soviets’ true intentions and tactical capabilities on the ground in Cuba and it was not until 1992, at a conference in Cuba of American, Soviet and Cuban veterans of the crisis, that the true extent of the danger of a nuclear exchange between the Super Powers was revealed. The Soviets had deployed more than just the Intermediate-range ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads which our U-2 overflights of Cuba had identified. They had also deployed 100 “tactical” nuclear weapons. These smaller, battlefield-oriented nuclear weapons were in place to defend against an expected US Marine invasion. And most significant, prior to October 22, 1962, the local Soviet commanding general had been pre-authorized by Moscow to use them against the American landing if it occurred. One can only imagine what our response would have been to the Russian use of tactical nuclear weapons against our Marines in Cuba.
Best regards,
“Strengthening Deterrence” with More Nuclear Bombs?