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John Lewis Gaddis on: Military Support for the Hydrogen Bomb
John Gaddis Q: It's quite interesting that in the General Advisory Committee debate, General Omar Bradley's response is: "Well, I'm not sure about the military need for it, but psychologically it would be a bad thing if the Russians had it and we didn't."

JLG: Yes, it's quite interesting. I think it's one of the first examples of the military supporting the development of a weapon that they did not know how to use, that they had not worked out yet how they would use it. Anybody who tried to work out scenarios for fighting wars in this period, I think, would have come to the conclusion that atomic bombs were quite sufficient, particularly if you had them in abundance, as we would shortly have. Because of the acceleration in the production of atomic bombs, we clearly were going to have twice as many in 1950 as we had in 1949, or more, and were on the verge of developing tactical atomic weapons also. So from a purely military point of view, of fighting a war, you don't need H-bombs. H-bombs are too big to be manageable in any way. There's no way that you can hook up strategy in a conventional sense with something that's as big and as horrendous as H-bombs. But Bradley, like Truman, takes the view that the psychological consequences of them having it and us not having it would be sufficiently severe that we've got to develop it, even though we don't have the foggiest idea of what we'd actually do with one if war came.

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