Chapter

The Imbalance of Power, 1953–1965

Gareth Porter

in Perils of Dominance

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780520239487
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940406 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520239487.003.0001
The Imbalance of Power, 1953–1965

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This chapter addresses the asymmetry in the military balance between the United States and the Soviet Union from 1953–1965, and the perceptions of that power relationship on the part of Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev, and Mao Zedong. The new imbalance of power altered the incoming Eisenhower administration's definition of its diplomatic objectives. It was only in 1966 that the USSR acquired a credible minimum deterrent force in the form of intercontinental ballistic missiles that were reasonably well protected from a U.S. first strike. Khrushchev apparently had very accurate intelligence on the Kennedy administration's strategic force deployments and future plans. Mao wanted the USSR to act as though it represented a strong military counterweight, regardless of the truth. There are two distinct formative periods in which U.S. perceptions were undergoing major changes: first, from 1953 through mid-1955; and second, from 1961 through 1964.

Keywords: military balance; United States; Soviet Union; power; Dwight Eisenhower; John Kennedy; Nikita Khrushchev; Mao Zedong; intercontinental ballistic missiles; USSR

Chapter.  13684 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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