cold war. nuclear response. plans.

b52

U.S. Had Plans for “Full Nuclear Response” In Event Pres­i­dent Killed or Dis­ap­peared dur­ing an Attack on the United States

As late as 1968, the U.S. gov­ern­ment had plans in place to fire an auto­matic “full nuclear response” against both the Soviet Union and China in the event of the death or dis­ap­pear­ance of the Pres­i­dent in the course of an attack against the United States, but Pres­i­dent Lyn­don John­son changed that pol­icy in Octo­ber 1968, accord­ing to a pre­vi­ously Top Secret doc­u­ment pub­lished today for the first time by the National Secu­rity Archive.

Prior to Pres­i­dent Johnson’s deci­sion, instruc­tions for the emer­gency use of nuclear weapons that both he and his pre­de­ces­sors had pre­vi­ously approved stip­u­lated a full-​scale nuclear counter-​attack even if the ini­tial strike were con­ven­tional, or the result of an acci­dent, and both Com­mu­nist giants would be tar­geted regard­less of whether either of them had launched the first strike.