Cover: Nuclear weapons and limited war

Nuclear weapons and limited war

Published 1959

by Thomas C. Schelling

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Part of a broader investigation on the objectives of the general and limited war forces of the United States and on the relationship of these objectives to force composition. This study examines one kind of conflict situation, that of limited war. The nature and meaning of "limit" in war is investigated, with emphasis on the limit inherent in distinguishing between conventional and nuclear weapons. It is argued that this limit is derived not so much from physics as from psychology. How do limits evolve in limited war? What makes them stable or unstable? What gives such limits authority? What circumstances and models of behavior lead to the creation and mutual recognition of limits by parties to a conflict? These questions are considered as a prelude to discussing the use of nuclear weapons in limited wars.

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