The Illogic of Henry Kissinger's Nuclear Strategy

Campbell Craig

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During the late 1950s and early 1960s Henry Kissinger became one of America's most famous nuclear strategists, developing a reputation as a brilliant "defense intellectual," which he would soon use to launch his public career. Yet critics of his work then and historians of nuclear strategy since have found his scholarship to be derivative, inconsistent, and unengaged with contemporary debates. Why was Kissinger nevertheless viewed by American politicians and the general public as a leading strategist? This article examines his main writings closely in order to show how his arguments appealed precisely to a public unwilling to confront the difficult realities of the thermonuclear revolution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-568
Number of pages22
JournalArmed Forces and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2003


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