The trap grew tighter when news spread that the
Thomas Murray, a member of the U.S. Atomic Energy
Commission, also urged Eisenhower "to negotiate an agreement to limit
testing activities.” But he had a different reason: “Since all Americans agree
with you that hope for ultimate disarmament rests on our atomic superiority in
the interim, any testing limitation plan would of course have to admit of the
continuation of an American atomic margin over the Soviets." If the Soviets accepted negotiations, the
Eisenhower agreed that the question of a test ban was tied up with the larger question of the world's response to the hydrogen bomb. Dulles made the connection clear: "We have a chance to get a big propaganda advantage—and perhaps," he added as a seeming afterthought, "results." Within the administration the test ban idea was treated from the beginning as a problem of international public relations.
In mid-April, Eisenhower told Dulles that “he would be
willing to have a moratorium on all further experimentation whether with H
bombs or A bombs.” He was especially
concerned about “a morbid obsession” in
“Atoms for Peace” was the only peg on which the
When the NSC first discussed the moratorium on May 6,
the president expressed “with great emphasis the necessity we were under to
gain some significant psychological advantages in the world. Everybody seems to think that we’re skunks,
saber-rattlers and warmongers. We ought
not to miss any chance to make clear our peaceful objectives.” Dulles made the point even more plainly: “We are losing ground every day in
Eisenhower and Dulles expected an eventual decision
for a moratorium. They decided to
postpone Churchill’s impending visit to
Not everyone in the administration agreed that a
moratorium was a good idea, however. The
Joint Chiefs of Staff acknowledged that a moratorium would have “certain
political advantages.” But they argued
that the drawbacks outweighed the benefits.
They still refused to consider any step toward nuclear disarmament
unless it came in the framework of a total disarmament agreement covering
conventional weapons too—a highly unlikely possibility. They feared that the Soviets would cheat and
use a moratorium to advance their theoretical studies, perhaps bringing them
abreast of the
CIA head Allen Dulles echoed the JCS concern:
There would almost certainly be a growing feeling throughout the non-Communist world that the moratorium would have little value unless it constituted the first step toward a worldwide agreement restricting or prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons.…The U.S. would be under strong popular pressure to “ban the bomb.” Moreover the Soviets, relying less heavily than the West on nuclear weapons, might find an advantage in a moratorium.
John Foster Dulles now changed his view and seconded
his brother’s arguments. He told the NSC
that a moratorium might imply that there was something morally illegitimate
about large-scale nuclear explosions, which would undermine
As the debate unfolded, a few administration figures occasionally raised the issue of domestic public opinion. Civil Defense chief Val Peterson urged continued testing because it would "scare the American people out of their indifference.” Attorney General Brownell wanted to continue testing because he thought it would calm, not heighten, public fears; a moratorium would raise fears, “Americans would react adversely,” and the administration's nuclear program might proceed less smoothly. Arthur Flemming, head of the Office of Defense Mobilization, voiced a third view: a moratorium “would give hope to our people. Otherwise we would produce an atmosphere of despair, and people would feel that there was no use in trying to defend themselves against atomic warfare.” But the president showed no particular concern about domestic opinion. In his view, the public had no special fear of nuclear weapons because it no longer distinguished between them and conventional weapons. Perhaps because the effect on domestic opinion was so ambiguous and so unimportant to the president, it was treated as a peripheral matter and had no discernible impact on the administration’s decision-making process.
Eisenhower looked at the global view, but he had trouble bringing it into clear focus. At times, he still seemed to favor a moratorium. On May 27 he expressed his “despair to look ahead to a future which contained nothing but more and more bombs. We must try to find some positive answer, and to do so would require more imaginative thinking than was going on at present in this Government.…All we are doing now is to make more certain our capability to destroy.” At the June 23 meeting, he made a statement that revealed another side of his despair:
There was no way in which the United States could be licked by any enemy in a protracted war of exhaustion unless we were the victims of surprise atomic attack.…The United States, for the first time in its history, was frightened at the prospect of an atomic war.…The matter of the morality of the use of these weapons was of no significance. The real thing was that the advantage of surprise almost seemed the decisive factor in an atomic war, and we should do anything we could to remove this factor.
Here Eisenhower said flatly that no moral concerns were involved, and certainly no one had raised them. The issue was a purely pragmatic one: removing the threat of surprise attack might outweigh considerations of cold war maneuvering. Having raised this point, though, he quickly let it drop.
At both meetings, in fact, Eisenhower allowed his caveats to remain ignored, so they had no effect on the discussion. (On May 27 he observed parenthetically that soon "even little countries will have a stockpile of these bombs, and then we will be in a mess." But this far-sighted comment also drew no response from the Council.) The June 23 discussion concluded when "the President stated with great emphasis that he thoroughly agreed with the conclusions reached by the committee" to reject the proposal.
Eisenhower's decision to reject the moratorium seems surprising on the face of it. Even if he saw no moral good in stemming the nuclear spiral, a moratorium certainly offered pragmatic benefits. He had the power to push the policy in that direction. But he did not. Why not?
He gave only one explicit reason for rejecting the moratorium idea: it was impossible to secure "a really foolproof system to ensure the abolition of atomic weapons," because the Soviet leaders could never be trusted. Weeks earlier he himself had voiced the obvious rejoinder to this argument: “If they violated their agreement we would go ahead promptly and conduct new tests ourselves.” Now he seemed to forget or ignore that thought. Perhaps his advisors’ arguments persuaded him and he offered a different argument so that he would remain a leader rather than a follower. Perhaps he still wanted a moratorium but hesitated to insist on a policy that reluctant underlings were unlikely to implement. Perhaps he wanted to avoid further dissension within his top staff.
The evidence is certain on one point, however. Whatever pragmatic factors pushed the president
away from the moratorium, they offered him a way to return to the familiar
structures of his discourse. The
assumption that Soviet leaders could not be trusted had long been fundamental
to that discourse, and it would remain the fundamental stumbling block to
disarmament efforts. Yet there was good reason to call this
premise into question. The principal
evidence available in 1954 was the series of agreements that the Soviets and
In any case,
The president could give up old commitments when it
seemed urgent to do so, as his shifting
The latter assumption, already called into question by the moratorium debate, became even more doubtful as Europeans learned more and more about the dangers of radioactive fallout from nuclear tests. The AEC’s chief of biology and medicine officially recommended that the administration address the as “not a question of health and safety, but a question of public relations.” The president seemed to agree. Through the spring of 1955, it remained “the official position of the United States Government,” wrote Assistant Secretary of Defense Herbert Loper, “that there is no basis for concern.”
Publicly, Willard Libby, a famed chemist and new member of the AEC, insisted that “there is no immediate hazard to the civilian population.” Privately, AEC members were less certain. When Libby told his colleagues on the commission that fallout was just a fact of life that people would have to learn to live with, chairman Strauss retorted that it was all right “if you don’t live next door to it”—“or under it” added general manager Kenneth Nichols. The AEC worried that any fears related to the bomb might hamper the government's freedom to use the bomb, or to threaten credibly to use it. The central issue was still controlling public emotions and attitudes. Strauss recognized that the key in this situation was total control over the flow of information. So he directed the AEC to undertake a full study of fallout dangers.
Eisenhower approved publication of the results in early February,1955. The New York Times gave front page coverage to his statement that the AEC report should “re-emphasize the need for world peace and disarmament” and show Americans how they could protect themselves from fallout. The administration hoped to make fallout a symbol not only of danger but also of peace and safety. On the same front page, though, the Times ran another article headlined, “Civilian Peril Stressed; Strauss Warns That Human Survival Might Depend on Prompt Protection.” This pairing typified the administration’s ambiguous message: only those vigilant and disciplined enough to cooperate with the government (through its civil defense program) would be saved in a nuclear war; the saving power of government policy was directly proportional to the magnitude of the danger; only the sufficiently fearful should feel reassured. The public response to the question of fallout was equally ambiguous. The AEC had some degree of credibility because it was the only source of information on fallout. Yet it was already widely discredited, so its reassurances only served to raise suspicion, skepticism, and fear.
Of course fallout from Soviet H-bombs would be dangerous only in a war, while fallout from tests would be dangerous in the immediate present and future. Yet the administration wanted to promote acceptance of nuclear testing primarily to help remove the taboo on deploying and using nuclear weapons. Administration officials could hardly argue that fallout from tests was dangerous but fallout from weapons in wartime use was not. So they had to treat all forms of fallout as a single issue. With this “package deal” they linked fears of tests and fears of war, which risked heightening both.
The growing concern about fallout, particularly in
In September, the Soviets threw what Hewlett and Holl
have called “the Russian bombshell”:
they finally agreed to discuss implementation of the “Atoms for Peace”
idea. This was far from welcome news in
The Pentagon had no such internal conflicts. Its leaders wanted to use disarmament negotiations
to mollify NATO allies, in order to get approval for
Eisenhower, too, was in a quandary. He was suspicious of disarmament proposals,
he told Hagerty: “Of course the Reds
were proposing to eliminate all atomic weapons, which would have the result of
going back to ground forces alone, which would leave them with the preponderance
of military power in
he had now become convinced that it was not possible to devise a foolproof system to abolish nuclear weapons and to see that they remained abolished. Accordingly, he had now come to change his view and to revert to support of the position which the United States had taken in the UN, linking conventional and atomic weapons in any plan for the control or abolition of armaments.…Every time recently that the subject of disarmament had come up in a conversation, he was reminded of the fate of Carthage [which was destroyed because it accepted the Romans’ deceitful disarmament plan].
However, when Eisenhower reminded Dulles, “We have got
to be in a position to use that weapon,” the secretary of state responded that
“at the political and public relations level there was still strong
resistance.” This was the rub. The weapon was usable only if it were
accepted by the allies, who demanded some
Stassen had a proven record as a cold warrior. In 1954, for example, he urged the NSC to
make an official commitment to rollback of communism, adding: “We should proceed at once to prepare the
From the outset, there was little chance that Stassen’s
efforts would bear meaningful fruit. The
president told him: “If confidence can
be had in the peaceful intentions of others then progress in disarmament can
begin.” As always, administration discourse assumed that the
National security advisor Dillon Anderson had his
staff draw up an overview of the
Nor did they think of nuclear weapons primarily as deterrents to war. Eisenhower did once tell the military chiefs: “We must deter them this year, next year, and for the next fifty years. We should think in terms of fifty years, of reaching for fifty years of peace”; peace still meant a continuing restraint of every enemy threat. And he told Congressional leaders that “the ability to blunt an initial enemy attack also gives a major deterrent effect.” But this was merely an afterthought in a discussion about winning a nuclear war. Similarly, in a comment to Churchill about preemptive war, he mentioned that “a concomitant problem” was how to inform the enemy of the intention to preempt, to deter an attack. The “also” and “concomitant” indicated that his first priority was to have a massive retaliatory capability, not merely for deterrence, but for actual use.
The president explicitly rejected the concept of
deterrence when he told the NSC that it was “wholly erroneous” to think that
nuclear “plenty” would make the weapons unusable. On the contrary, “the more atomic weapons
each side obtains, the more anxious it will be to use these weapons.” He knew that he was regularly approving the
research, testing, and deployment of more
When the president talked about the bomb in private, he focused not on disarmament or deterrence, but on using it to win a war. Late in 1953, he told Anthony Eden that he saw no difference between nuclear and conventional weapons: “The development of smaller atomic weapons and the use of atomic artillery makes the distinction impossible to sustain.” When he said that, he already knew that hydrogen bombs would soon be in his arsenal. Yet he forced the “new weapons” into his old discursive pattern. A traditional massive assault was still the key to victory. He expressed to Congressional leaders his “absolute conviction” that in the nuclear age the only possible plan was "to hit the Russians where and how it would hurt most.…Hit the guy fast with all you’ve got if he jumps on you.” (It was not unusual for Eisenhower to use such colloquialisms in discussing all-out nuclear war, treating it as a fight between two individuals.)
However the president did not imagine World War III as
an instantaneous affair. He expected to
fight a long drawn-out conflict much like World War II. He told the NSC that the
He expressed a similar view when the NSC met to
approve NSC 5410, "U.S. Objectives in the Event of General War with the
By clear implication, the president directed his subordinates to base their planning not on their best estimate of the empirical realities of war, but on hypothetical scenarios that seemed to make planning for recovery realistic. (In his second term he would make this guidance explicit.) His desire for clearly defined plans turned his own and his administration's eyes away from the empirical realities of the H-bomb’s power. Indeed, as late as March 1955, he could still tell the NSC that “the effect of the H-bomb in comparison to the A-bomb was merely to widen the crater which it created,” and even an H-bomb crater would be “only” one mile across. A month later, he still had to ask Strauss about the radius of the bomb’s lethal effects.
What he thought about was not the destruction, but the
loss of freedom that a war would bring.
A draft of NSC 5410 set out as the primary war aim,
"To achieve a victory which will ensure the survival of the
Historians have often cited Eisenhower's warnings that nuclear war must be avoided, giving the impression that he frequently voiced such a sentiment in private, where there could be no question of speaking for public effect. In fact, there were relatively few instances of this in his first three years in office. And his statements to this effect, both private and public, should be interpreted in the context of his two different images of the results of World War III. One was sheer, ungovernable, unimaginable chaos. The other was a rigid totalitarian system imposed to bring order out of that chaos. These were the two principal ways in which selfishness manifested itself, according to his long-standing ideological scheme. And he assumed that World War III would necessarily lead to one or the other. So he could see no way that this apocalypse could lead to the victory of spiritual good over evil.
The president acknowledged to the NSC that he found it
“frustrating not to have plans to use nuclear weapons generally accepted.” The frustration came not only from allies’
fears, but from the inherent limitations of the weapons. Here was a professional soldier, now the
commander-in-chief, with the most powerful weapon in history, but no way to use
it to gain a meaningful victory. He told
his Joint Chiefs of Staff that “if we batter Soviet cities to pieces” there
would be no way to “achieve the objectives for which we went to war.” So he directed them “to use more imagination
in contemplating the best way to fight the next war with the least dislocation
to the world.” When Dulles affirmed that
Eisenhower assured a Marine audience that the
Here would be a great area from the Elbe to Vladivostok and down through Southeast Asia torn up and destroyed without government, without its communications, just an area of starvation and disaster. I ask you what would the civilized world do about it? … Gain such a victory and what would you do with it? …I repeat there is no victory in any war except through our imaginations, through our dedication, and through our work to avoid it.
Historians often interpret this passage to mean that, although one could imagine winning a victory, in reality there could be no meaningful victory, so the military should dedicate its imagination to finding ways to avoid war. But perhaps Eisenhower was giving the Marines, in one syntactically tortured sentence, the full range of his views: Try to avoid a world war, but if there is a war, be sure to destroy every major city, not only across the Soviet Union, but also in China and in all the satellite states, yet try to find a way to fight that would make victory meaningful by avoiding either chaos or totalitarianism.
In a letter to a personal friend, Boeing executive Earl Schaefer, Eisenhower summed up his views in typically apocalyptic terms: “Men ought to be intelligent enough to devise ways and means of avoiding suicide.” This was the same kind of plaint he had made during and after World War II. Things had changed quantitatively, but not qualitatively. And he still lamented that so few people had the kind of intelligence needed. Yet he was also admitting, implicitly, that he too had failed to solve the problem. And his laments about impending apocalypse were still only rhetorical flourishes, with no impact on military policy. So, he continued to Schaefer, “as of the moment national preservation requires” an effective capacity for massive nuclear retaliation. If the threat of bombs failed to save the nation from attack, the New Look assumed that bombs would actually be used for a saving counter-attack. In effect, he was telling Schaefer that he wanted to be able to view, and use, those bombs as the shield against national suicide, not the trigger of global suicide.
In the first half of 1954, then, Eisenhower's private
discussions about nuclear weapons followed a familiar pattern. He had been warning against war for many
years. For just as many years, he had
been insisting that Soviet leaders would refrain from war. When he spoke about war, he showed as much
concern for the chaos caused by
His apparently fearful musings about “avoiding suicide” and “a future which contained nothing but more and more bombs” were correspondingly abstract. They expressed a vague sentiment, which was appropriately alarmist, but never a basis for, nor even connected with, concrete policy planning. Despite the unexpectedly massive destructiveness of the H-bomb tests, he worried little about nuclear weaponry as a danger in and of itself. He admitted that the bomb’s most radical new implications were beyond his ken and therefore, to him, not worth considering or even learning about.
The administration’s plans always assumed that war
would begin with a Soviet surprise attack.
As Raymond Garthoff concludes, “President Eisenhower and Secretary
Dulles were both confident that the Soviet leaders would not launch an
attack.” The president said repeatedly,
both publicly and privately, that Soviet leaders were too enamored of their own
power to risk it by attacking the
Gradually, the fear came to dominate. “The real thing,” he told the NSC in June 1954, “was that the advantage of surprise almost seemed the decisive factor.” By the end of that year, he no longer spoke so much about his fear of the chaos and totalitarianism that war would bring. He now put surprise attack at the top of his list of perils to be feared. Throughout 1954, growing fears of a first strike pushed some administration figures (especially within the Pentagon) to urge consideration of a preventive first strike. The talk was serious enough that the president felt obliged to argue against it on several occasions. His warnings about the horrors of nuclear war were uttered primarily in this context. By late 1954 the discussion seems to have ended in high-level circles.
But Eisenhower did not argue against the idea of a massive preemptive nuclear strike; he was fully determined to get in the first blow if he thought war unavoidable. He warned Congressional leaders that the crucial period was only “the first fifteen days.” This was “the threat that endangers our very existence. The first priority must therefore be to blunt the enemy’s initial threat—by massive retaliation.” He told his advisors that “when we talk about power and massive retaliation, we mean retaliation against an act that to us means irrevocable war.” And he left no doubt that the first blow would be nuclear. If the great fear was now sudden all-out attack on the heart of the “free world”, rather than gradual erosion at its edges, national security meant using the bomb to prevent a sudden total catastrophe, rather than preventing many small losses in constant battles. So the hugely expensive mobilization planned by the Truman administration would be unnecessary. Whereas Truman had made the atomic bomb a weapon of last resort, Eisenhower made both the atomic and hydrogen bombs “in effect, a weapon of first resort," as David Alan Rosenberg observes.
To the military chiefs, the president “indicated his firm intention to launch a strategic air force immediately in case of alert of actual attack.” SAC plans assumed a preemptive first strike. But “alert” was an ambiguous term. He wrote to Churchill that “the very life of a nation, perhaps even of Western civilization, could, for example, come to depend on instantaneous reaction to news of an approaching air fleet.” But he went on to urge “the most careful studies on our part to decide upon the conditions under which we would find it necessary to react explosively.” Obviously, an approaching air fleet was not the only such condition. Weeks earlier, in fact, he had set up a committee to study what Soviet actions “should leave no doubt in the President's mind as to the need for taking immediate military action.”
As Marc Trachtenberg points out, “a strategy of
preemption is implied in a large number of documents from the Eisenhower
period”; the nuclear buildup the president wanted “could make a difference
[only] if the
Eisenhower assumed that two to four weeks of initial
counterstrikes would be needed after any preemptive strike. This use would be the first phase of a
two-phase war, “the initial attack and counterattack,” in which the goal would
be “the aversion of disaster; in phase two we would go on to win the war.” Phase one, leaving perhaps “15 [
The second phase of this two-phase war would be a
protracted, more or less conventional war.
The memory of World War II was still overpowering; the side that
produced the most war materials over the duration would win: “The only attack we fear is a long-range
atomic attack. As long as we can keep up
our productive power, keep it in operation, we can lick anybody anytime.” “To do that we need not just more men. We need more equipment, an expanded Air Force
and an expanded warning system.” The
Army manpower needed to “avert disaster” during the initial phase was a
relatively small but well-disciplined reserve to “take over and preserve order”
As he presided over the ever-mounting nuclear buildup,
Eisenhower felt little pressing need to explore new facts, nor to ask whether
they might fall outside his familiar framework.
He bent all his efforts toward controlling the weapons’ effects for
Of course Eisenhower could not talk about openly about his nuclear policies in public. He warned the NSC that it would be unwise to reveal publicly “some of the things we may have to do in case of war. He thought it would be better to continue to emphasize constructive peace. To attempt to educate public opinion now on the weapons that might have to be used in war might produce very great strain on our alliances.” Nuclear fears were beginning to emerge at home, too. The president objected to plans for sending top government officials underground in wartime "because the public would be greatly upset."
On the other hand, the fear of cold war apathy still plagued the Eisenhower administration. The administration needed to manage public emotion skillfully enough to sustain a “national will” to wage cold war for an indefinite “age of peril.” The president aimed to keep the public sufficiently frightened, though not “hysterical.” So even his most reassuring talk was interlaced with words that provoked anxiety. His principal rhetorical strategy to dampen nuclear fear was to portray the bomb as merely one among a panoply of perils. “The world is suffering from a multiplicity of fears," he told reporters. “What I fear more than anything else in this time, is a failure to look this danger in, you might say, its broad face.”
In early April, when the president gave a major speech about fear, nuclear fear was a rather minor theme. As Hagerty noted, the basic purpose was to “take the Red play from McCarthy.” It was a bid to control the public discourse of fear by identifying the administration with the rational—hence controllable—fear, while placing both McCarthyites and communists squarely on the side of irrational—hence uncontrollable—“hysteria.” “Sometimes you feel, almost, that we can be excused for getting a little bit hysterical,” the president told the nation, “because these dangers come from so many angles, and they are of such different kinds." But “the H-bomb—the H-bomb and the Atomic Age—they are not in themselves a great threat to us,” he insisted. They were dangerous only because of the potential “insanity” of Soviet leaders. Irrationality, whether from the Kremlin or the McCarthyites, was the real danger, the speech implied: “We do not have to be hysterical. We can be vigilant. We can be Americans.”
Later in the year, as the congressional election
approached, Eisenhower was politically astute enough to mute all public talk
about fears and limits. "We should
constantly present the Republican Party as the Party of peace," he told
party chairman Len Hall. He reminded many audiences of areas where
cold war contest had ceased since the Republicans had entered the White
The president's campaign rhetoric reflected the religious foundations of his ideological commitments. He spoke in apocalyptic tones, offering doom and utopian peace as the only alternatives. He depicted all the sources of doom as facets of the spiritual flaw of innate selfishness. Toasting Korean President Rhee, he theologized: "There is one factor that is completely unpredictable, completely unreliable and untrustworthy, and yet never changes—only one—and that is human nature." Even "those misguided and irresponsible people who…spread fear,” he insisted, were doing so “for individual advantage.” But he offered no way to escape fear, for he saw every fear at bottom as (in his own words) fear “of ourselves”—of human nature itself.
When he turned to the utopian side of his discourse,
Eisenhower also turned to religious values.
The main antidote to fear that he offered was not a trustworthy peace,
but the power of faith. The basic
By shaping the pattern of public discourse, Eisenhower also sacralized the political authority of his administration. Addressing the public like a parent scolding a frightened child, Eisenhower linked himself with God as a protective father figure. The president's great prestige and popularity (plus his privileged access to public news space) gradually ousted any competing discursive options. It became harder to find any linguistic foundation on which to frame challenges to, or even questions about, the administration's basic orientation.
God seemed to be on the president's side because there was no longer any other discursive side on which God could be. Therefore, in Rachel Holloway’s felicitous phrase, “the sinister bomb became a saving grace." Journalist William Lee Miller observed at the time that Eisenhower was trying to make religion itself a weapon of containment. But he could also speak of the bomb as an enemy to be defeated by faith in American omnipotence: “United, Americans can conquer the atom bomb and hydrogen bomb, or anything else in this world to which they set their minds and their hearts.”
Although Eisenhower tried to make fear the rhetorical
opposite of faith, he actually bound the two together. American faith could "open before the
world a true golden age of our civilization.
We need not despair. We must
not," he preached. Faith was a more
rational kind of anxiety: "We must,
of course, prevent ourselves always from overexaggerating danger, just as we
refuse to become complacent.…I am certain also that
Eisenhower's apocalypticism allowed no way to give the nation’s growing awareness of limits any positive meaning. Limits could be portrayed only as the gateway to disaster. This made the limits seem immensely dangerous and more frightening than they had to be. If there was no way to talk of faith and peace without talking about catastrophic threats, it was that much more appealing to talk of faith and peace as merely a stable structure of security, impervious to every threat. This structure had meaning, and offered hope, only as long as there was a threat for it to hold back.
The ultimate limit was the limit to discursive clarity. The president's rhetorical efforts to create a stable public mood only heightened the discursive instability, because his rhetoric, like his policy, was built out of contradictory elements: war threats and peace moves, images of confrontation and images of conciliation, insistence on U.S. self-interest and compromise with allies' interests, a secular balance of power and sacred eschatology, hope for a better world and fear of the end of the world. He often spoke as if he believed he could find the perfect balance point in each set of conflicting opposites. Yet in language, as in policy, pursuit of perfect control only made the chimerical goal more difficult to attain.
A public assaulted by such frightening, confusing language could hardly feel genuinely confident, no matter how often the avuncular Ike preached optimism and smiled at them from the golf course. His words merely helped to accomplish the goal of Operation Candor: diverting public anxiety into new channels that called for new efforts at emotion management.
House of Commons Debate, fifth series, vol. 525, col. 1052, 3/23/54; Churchill
to Eisenhower, 3/29/54, in Boyle, Churchill-Eisenhower
Correspondence, 131-132; Committee on Atomic Development memo, 4/12/54, C.
D. Jackson Papers, Box 55, “Gi-Misc”; Gopal, Jawaharlal Nehru, 396, 395.
See also Divine, Blowing on the
Wind, 18; Memorandum of Dinner with Sir Winston Churchill, 4/12/54, John
Foster Dulles Papers, White House Memorandum Series,
Dulles memorandum, 4/19/54, John Foster Dulles Papers, White House Memoranda
 Dulles to Department of State, 4/28/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.2: 1398.
NSC, 5/6/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.2: 1425-1429; Memorandum of Luncheon
Conversation with the President, 5/11/54, John Foster Dulles Papers, White
House Memoranda Series, Box 1, “Meetings with the President, 1954 (3).” See also Dulles to Eisenhower, 5/17/54, AWF,
Dulles-Herter Series, Box 3, “Dulles, John Foster — May 1954 (2)” and
Eisenhower to Dulles, 5/6/54, John Foster Dulles Papers, White Hosue Memoranda
Dulles memorandum, 4/19/54, John Foster Dulles Papers, White House Memoranda
 Allen Dulles to Lay, 5/25/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.2: 1446. For the opposition from Strauss and the AEC, see Hewlett and Holl, Atoms for Peace and War, 223-225.
Dulles to NSC, 6/23/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.2: 1467; NSC, 6/23/54, FRUS
1952-1954, 2.2: 1469. For Dulles’
evolving rejection of a moratorium, see NSC, 5/27/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.2:
143-145; Merchant to
 Peterson to Lay, 5/26/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.2: 1450-2; NSC, 5/27/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.2: 1456.
 NSC, 5/27/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.2: 1455.
 NSC, 6/23/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.2: 1469-1470.
Ibid., 1470. By October, 1954,
Eisenhower was considering a moratorium on tests over 100 kilotons to aid
 NSC, 6/23/54, FRUS, 1952-1954, 2.2: 1470; NSC, 5/6/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.2: 1426.
 For Eisenhower's distrust of Soviet motives as early as 1944 and 1945, see GE, 69, 71-72; for his early disinterest in disarmament efforts, see GE, 123-126.
 See, e.g., GE 74, 162-163. He repeated the point in his Radio and Television Address to the American People, 4/5/54, PPP, 375-376.
42;The Diary of James C. Hagerty and Waribid. The news of another
Soviet H-bomb test and the death of a Japanese crew member of the Lucky Dragon,
irradiated in the Bravo test, also raised allies’ anxieties. But Lewis Strauss argued that fallout from
2/17/55, 1; , 205. fallout did ”6 Eisenhower worried that this fear might
undermine European support for rearming
22The Disarmament Problem and U.S. Policy Before the NSC, 4/22/55, White House Office, OSANSA, Special Assistant Series, Subject File, Box 4, “Disarmament – General 1955-1956 (3)”; Guidelines Under NSC 162/2 for FY 1956, FRUS 1952-54 2.1: 717-718; ;
8/5/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.1: 706, 711; NSC 5/27/54, FRUS 1952-1954,
2.2:1456. For other examples of Stassen’s
hard-line cold war stance, see, e.g., NSC, 10/7/53, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.1: 530;
NSC, 4/29/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 13: 1440-1441; NSC, 6/24/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.1:
690, 692, 698; NSC 11/24/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.1: 794. Several years earlier, he had pronounced it
“morally justified” for the
When Eisenhower edited the public announcement of the new post, he emphasized that Stassen would not develop policy, but only “the broad studies, investigations and conclusions” that Eisenhower and the NSC would use to decide policy: Preliminary Draft for Possible Release by President, 3/15/55, AWF, Administration Series, Box 34, “Stassen, Harold E. 1954-1955 (2).” No doubt the president was anticipating bureaucratic quarrels over authority in this area (which would soon erupt quite forcefully). But he was also raising doubts, from the beginning, about how important Stassen’s role would really be.
The Disarmament Problem and U.S. Policy Before the NSC, 4/22/55, White House Office, OSANSA, Special Assistant Series, Subject File, Box 4, “Disarmament – General 1955-1956 (3)”; ;Eisenhower to Wilson, 3/22/55, AWF, DDE Diary, Box 10, “DDE Diary March 1955 (1).”
Memorandum of Conference with the President, 12/22/54, AWF, Ann Whitman Diary Series, Box 3, “ACW Diary, December 1954 (2)”; ; Eisenhower to Churchill, 1/25/55, PDDE 16: 1522-1523. See also Stassen and Houts, Eisenhower, 238-239.
 NSC, 6/24/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.1: 689, 692, 693; Ambrose, Eisenhower, 93. H. W. Brands notes that Eisenhower’s commitment to the New Look at this point was also a way to avoid confronting the split over the policy within his own administration: “The Age of Vulnerability,” 976-980.
Diary of Sir Evelyn Shuckberg, 12/5/53, cited in
NSC, 6/24/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.1: 689; NSC, 1/28/54, AWF. NSC Series,
 NSC, 3/25/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.1: 642; NSC, 3/4/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.1: 636; Eisenhower to Regis Colasanti, 3/21/50, PDDE, 11: 1019.
NSC, 3/3/55, AWF, NSC Series, Box 6, “239th Meeting, 3/3/55”; NSC, 4/7/55, AWF,
 NSC, 3/4/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.1: 636; NSC, 3/25/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.1: 640-643.
NSC 5410/1, 3/29/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.1: 645; NSC, 3/25/54, FRUS 1952-1954,
2.1: 642. Eisenhower’s fear that another
war would bring dictatorship went back to the early post-World War II years:
GE, 78-79. He also worried that another
war would produce “a tremendous swing toward isolationism” in the
 In the summer of 1953, he allegedly announced that “the only thing worse than losing a global war was winning one”: Cutler Memorandum on Solarium conference, 7/16/53, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.1: 397. This often-cited quote does not sound like something Eisenhower would have said. His occasional assertions that the only thing worse than winning a war would be losing one sound much more typical. It is possible that Cutler got the wording confused.
NSC, 8/5/54, FRUS 1952-1954, 2.1: 707;
 Ferrell, The Diary of James C. Hagerty, 69.
 Eisenhower to Earl Schaefer, 4/12/54, PDDE, 15: 1017. For parallels from the 1940s, see GE, 125, 129.
 ; . See also Ambrose, Eisenhower, 172; Immerman, "Confessions of an Eisenhower Revisionist,” 331, 334.
 ; Memorandum of Conference with the President, 7/20/54, quoted in Perret, Eisenhower, 450; Rosenberg, “Origins of Overkill,” 141.
of Conference with the President,12/22/54, AWF, Ann Whitman Diary Series, Box
3, “ACW Diary, December 1954 (2)”; 19. also 19.
McGeorge Bundy argues that
8/5/54, FRUS, 1952-1954, 2.2: 706-7; NSC, 1/28/54, AWF, NSC Series,
conference, 3/17/54, PPP, 1954, 330-31; Press conference, 6/10/54, PPP, 1954,
547. See also, e.g., press conference,
3/10/54, PPP, 1954, 309; Remarks at the
The New York Times mistakenly assumed that the speech was a response to “mounting alarm over the devastating potentialities of the hydrogen bomb”: NYT, 4/6/54, 28. Historians have made the same mistake; see, e.g., ,” ;,
The Diary of James C. Hagerty, 36;
Radio and Television Address to the American People, 4/5/54, PPP, 1954,
372-81. Eisenhower's initial notes for
the speech listed six categories of fear.
"The Kremlin" came first; "the atom age and mass
destruction" came last: Notes,
3/24/54, AWF, DDE Dairies,
Eisenhower to Leonard Hall, 10/12/54, PDDE, 15: 1346. Newsweek noticed the change tone as early as August. Under the headline “Ike and a Wave of Optimism” (8/23/54, 15), the magazine summed up the new message: “The outlook for world peace and for successful resistance to further Communist conquests is the best it has been for a long time.” Eisenhower did sometimes use optimistic tones even before the campaign started; he told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce: “You are striving for the positive factors of happiness and enjoyment in life, not in the mere negative idea that we are avoiding destruction or disaster this one day. … A long face never solved anything": He had used the “long face” line years earlier to teach his Pentagon staff officers that a leader must restrain his own fear and sound optimistic: GE, 141-146.
Remarks at Trinity College, 10/20/54, PPP, 1954, 917; Remarks at
Toasts of the President and President Rhee of
Address at American Legion 8/30/54, PPP, 1954, 786; Address at Alfred E. Smith
; Miller, Piety Along the Potomac, 45; Speech at
59 Address at