Richard Nixon on US military strategy (1954)

In March 1954 United States vice president Richard Nixon gave a radio address on the Eisenhower administration’s program of military spending. Though Nixon does not specifically mention it, he alludes to a recent decision to expand America’s nuclear arsenal:

“We found, despite record spending for military purposes, that in our efforts to be strong everywhere we weren’t strong enough anywhere. And since our former policy failed, we then asked ourselves the question: what kind of a new policy should we adopt?

And in determining what that policy should be we decided to find out what the men in the Kremlin were up to. We found that militarily their plan apparently was to destroy us by drawing us into little wars all over the world with their satellites – however, where they themselves were not involved – and where due to our inability to bring to bear our great superiority on the sea and in the air, that we were unable to win those wars.

We found that economically, their plan apparently was to force the United States to stay armed to the teeth, to be prepared to fight anywhere, anywhere in the world that they, the men in the Kremlin, chose.

Why? Because they know that this would force us into bankruptcy, that we would destroy our freedom in an attempt to defend it.

Well, we decided that we would not fall into these traps, and so we adopted a new principle, and that new principle summed up is this: Rather than let the communists nibble us to death all over the world in little wars, we would rely in the future primarily on our massive mobile retaliatory power which we could use in our discretion against the major sources of aggression at times and places that we chose.

We adjusted our armed strength to meet the requirements of this new concept, and what was just as important, we let the world – and we let the communists know – what we intended to do.”