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Lesson Index: [ Introduction | Lesson Objective | Overview | Foundations of Doctrine | Air Corps Tactical School | WWII—Europe | WWII—Japan | WWII—Nuclear Weapons | Cold War Doctrine | Massive Retaliation | Cold War Technology | Flexible Response | The SIOP | Korea | Korean Command Structure | Korean War Aftermath | Prelude to Vietnam | Objectives in Vietnam | Vietnam War 1965–1973 | Rolling Thunder—Objectives | Rolling Thunder—Restrictions | Rolling Thunder—Outcome | Command Arrangements | Route Package System | Khe Sanh | Airpower at Khe Sanh | LINEBACKER II | Post-Vietnam Assessment | AirLand Battle | Impact of AirLand Battle | Operation EAGLE CLAW | Operation URGENT FURY | Goldwater-Nichols Act 1986 | Summary | Quiz ]

Title: Cold War Doctrine

Voice: Following World War Two, the United States became involved in the Cold War. The Soviet Union, and eventually the Warsaw Pact nations of Eastern Europe, were viewed as the potential enemy. In response, the U.S. employed a strategy of “containment” that sought to limit communist expansion. This new deterrent posture focused primarily on the ability to employ strategic and tactical nuclear weapons worldwide. Six years after the start of the Cold War, the Air Force produced its first manual on basic doctrine. Air Force Manual 1-2, published in 1953, reflected the experiences of World War Two and upheld the strategic bombing principle of attacking the enemy’s heartland. The manual also indicated that future warfare would involve the use of nuclear weapons. The publication of this manual marked the beginning of the Air Force’s excursion away from the doctrinal principles set forth by the Air Corps Tactical School. Air Force doctrine was on a path toward a doctrine based on a strategy of nuclear deterrence.

Action: Screen begins with a faded collage of war weapons in background. The following header and bullets are shown as mentioned, center screen:

Air Power Thought

  • Soviet Union and its allies most likely military threat
  • U.S. military policy focused on containing the spread of communism
  • Containment strategy alliances—
    North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO),
    Central Treaty Organization (CENTO),
    Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO)
  • National leaders adopted policy of nuclear deterrence
  • Action: Midway through the narration, the previous text is removed and the following header and bullets are shown in support of the narration, center screen:

    Air Force Manual 1-2 (1953)

  • Reflected lessons of World War II
  • Emphasized strategic bombing of enemy heartland
  • Advocated that future wars would be nuclear wars
  • [Back: WWII—Nuclear Weapons | Next: Massive Retaliation]