Creating deterrence for limited war: The United States Army and the defense of West Germany, 1953--1982

2006 2006

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

This dissertation addresses the role of the U.S. Army as an instrument of national and alliance strategy in the era of the Cold War. The army was confronted with the fundamental question of its utility in the nuclear age. This dissertation argues that after the Korean War army leaders pursued a consistent policy to create a force that could deter limited, i.e., conventional and tactical-nuclear war in Central Europe. This policy resulted in a three-decade long transition process, as the army had to respond to influences ranging from the Soviet threat to inter-service rivalry, budgetary concerns, rapidly evolving technology, and military and political developments in Europe and Asia. The transition process occurred in three stages. First, army leaders redefined the mission of their institution from war-fighting to the deterrence of war. Then, the structure of combat divisions was altered to reflect the requirements of nuclear as well as conventional battlefields. Finally, and only after the Vietnam War, doctrine was introduced that combined specific objectives in Central Europe, modern divisional structure, weapons technology, and newly defined principles of operational art in a coherent system of air and land warfare. At the heart of the dissertation rests the question of strategic decision-making and the impact of military institutions. But it also addresses NATO's military and political capabilities and considers the effect of nuclear weapons on land warfare and the deterrence of war. Moreover, it is a study of civil-military relations in the United States. Finally, it offers a fresh view of the Vietnam War by placing both the periphery and center of the Cold War in the context of potentially devastating nuclear war. Scholarship of the Cold War to date has emphasized the effects of nuclear deterrence and neglected the contribution of ground forces to the prevention of war. This dissertation is based on archival research in Europe and the United States, including the archives of NATO and the German military, the U.S. National Archives, the National Security Archive, several presidential libraries, and other major repositories of manuscripts of diplomats, military officers, and political leaders.

Indexing (details)

American history;
Military history
0337: American history
0722: Military history
Identifier / keyword
Social sciences; Defense; Deterrence; Germany; Limited war; United States Army
Creating deterrence for limited war: The United States Army and the defense of West Germany, 1953--1982
Trauschweizer, Ingo Wolfgang
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 67/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Sumida, Jon
University of Maryland, College Park
University location
United States -- Maryland
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.