Nation: New Fail-Safe

If an atomic attack is launched against the U.S., the U.S. will not necessarily unleash all of its thermonuclear power in return. The Kennedy Administration contends that power could be used selectively "so that there will be a way to stop a war before all of the destruction of which both sides are capable has been wrought." One byproduct of this theory is that it should ease the deep U.S. dread—as demonstrated by the bestselling success of the novel Fail-Safe—that such a war could start by mistake.

The Administration's design requires that top U.S. Government and military commanders survive an atomic attack,...

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