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General Andrew Goodpaster on: Eisenhower's View of Large-Scale Nuclear War
General Andrew Goodpaster Q: With the testing of the first hydrogen bomb, how did President Eisenhower view the possibility of a large-scale war with the Soviet Union?

GAP: Now, Eisenhower himself made clear his view and repeated that one should not think about large-scale war without realizing that it, in all likelihood, would become a nuclear war. And the notion of any large-scale, full-scale war without using nuclear weapons he thought would be an illusion. At an earlier point, he had said that the fission weapon was simply a much more powerful step in the escalation of weapons effects that we had seen over the centuries. But once the hydrogen weapon was available, and more and more as he thought about that, you began to hear from him that any idea of nuclear war would be, as he said, and absurdity or a form of insanity. That no longer was war an extension of policy by other means, but it was a form of mutual, could be a form of mutual suicide.

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