By G. Wyn Rees (auth.)
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Additional info for Anglo-American Approaches to Alliance Security, 1955–60
62 Yet such a force was always more of a desirable goal than a reality in UK planning because the pressure of defence reductions left no reservoir of manpower available to act as a reserve. Units that were on stand-by would inevitably be drawn into existing commitments, to relieve the hard-pressed local forces. 63 In the United States, there was considerable debate about the appropriate size of conventional forces that had to be retained for limited war purposes. 64 However, the US Army found itself under repeated pressure to reduce the size of its mobile interventionary forces and General Taylor had to argue strenuously for the retention of large ground forces and supporting tactical air power.
They were unlikely to risk engaging Western forces directly in any theatre of the world for fear that a local conflict could escalate into a global one. The Soviets might sponsor one of their satellites to engage in such hostilities, providing them with material assistance, but they would avoid direct participation. The possibility of limited war with the USSR was therefore discounted for planning purposes by both the US and the UK. Yet this assumption grew more questionable over time. In the light of the emerging nuclear stalemate and the reticence of the US to commit itself to the early use of nuclear weapons, the prospect of limited war with the USSR became more plausible.
If neither side launches a large-scale atomic attack, the United States and its Allies must strike an effective balance between the commitment of forces in the areas of direct conflict and the retention of an available retaliatory capability, as a continuing deterrent. ,48 This argument was a powerful one as it acknowledged American reluctance to follow a policy in wartime that could be prejudicial to the nation's survival. The strategy also offered the potential for choice; for America to envisage hostilities with the Soviet Union that did not automatically result in massive destruction.
Anglo-American Approaches to Alliance Security, 1955–60 by G. Wyn Rees (auth.)