In the 1970s tactical nuclear warfare was a topical issue. The introduction of the new generation of tactical nuclear weapons into Europe could have had disastrous consequences. These new weapons had already been developed by nuclear-weapon laboratories and pressures were growing for their deployment.
On first sight, smaller and more accurate nuclear weapons may seem more humane and militarily preferable to the relatively high-yield tactical nuclear weapons currently deployed. But some of these new types of weapons would blur the distinction between nuclear and conventional weapons and their use would make escalation to strategic nuclear war extremely likely. Indeed, the argument for these new weapons is that their use in wartime is more credible (and therefore ‘acceptable’) than current types of tactical nuclear weapons. This perception could easily lead to the exceedingly dangerous idea that some types of tactical nuclear war were ‘winnable’.
The fact has to be faced that any use of nuclear weapons is almost certain to escalate until all available weapons are used. To believe otherwise is to believe that one side will surrender before it has used all the weapons in its arsenal. History shows that this is most unlikely to happen.
Because of its importance, SIPRI organized a meeting to discuss the whole question. Originally published in 1978, this book is the outcome of that meeting.
Table of Contents
Preface. Part 1: Basic Data on Tactical Nuclear Weapons 1. Background Information on Tactical Nuclear Weapons (Primarily in the European Context) M. Leitenberg 2. Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Europe O. Šukovic Part 2: The Issues 3. Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Problems of Definition and Application M. Milshtein 4. Arms Control and Tactical Nuclear Forces and European Security J. Coffey 5. Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Europe: Implications for East-West Relations W. Multan 6. The Irrationality of Current Nuclear Doctrines F. Barnaby 7. 'Mini-Nukes' and Enhanced Radiation Problems J. Miettinen 8. Mini-Nukes and Non-Aligned Defence. The Case of Sweden J. Prawitz 9. Tactical Nuclear Weapons and European Security H. Afheldt 10. The New Nuclear Force R. Shreffler. Bibliography. Index.
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Established in 1966, SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public. Based in Stockholm, SIPRI is regularly ranked among the most respected think tanks worldwide.