Brinkmanship (Eisenhower)

When President Eisenhower was elected there were two major principles the administration took in its early foreign policy. The first being to encourage the liberation of captive peoples in Eastern Europe and the other being massive retaliation where any Soviet and Chinese aggression would be met with an American nuclear attack directly on the USSR and China. This was known as Brinkmanship and was the main tactic of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. Dulles wanted to initiate the rollback of communism as opposed to the containment of communism.

Brinkmanship was related to the idea of MAD, or mutually assured destruction. The development of the hydrogen bomb in 1953 for the Soviets meant that Dulles’ policy of massive retaliation and brinkmanship was much less practical because both sides would lose in a thermonuclear war. The idea of MAD would become the main deterrent for nuclear war and the escalation of the Cold War for the next four decades.

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