Nike, Bomarc, Nuclear Weapons

Nike, Bomarc, Nuclear Weapons

From Palgrave Macmillan
Pub date: September 2010
288 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-0230623408

Continental Defense In The Eisenhower Era: Nuclear Antiaircraft Arms and the Cold War

This book tells the interesting and little known story of the thousands of nuclear antiaircraft weapons which were deployed in more than one hundred locations around cities and defense installations in the United States during most of the Cold War. Beginning in Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidency, these Army Nike -Hercules missiles, Air Force Genie rockets, and BOMARC and Falcon missiles were meant to destroy Soviet planes over (or near) U.S. airspace before they attacked America with atomic bombs.

Based upon once-secret government documents (including some declassified especially for this study) from the White House, Pentagon, and elsewhere, Continental Defense in the Eisenhower Era reveals that:
  • the existence of these arms was well known to the American public, and they were widely accepted;
  • military officers had the authority to use them in certain circumstances without further approval;
  • extensive plans were made to test some versions over the Gulf of Mexico in 1958; President Eisenhower quashed the effort just a few days before in a tense Oval Office meeting;
  • details of some of these weapons were allegedly provided to the Soviet Union by an Army officer who is believed to be one of the highest ranking spies in the U.S. military; and
  • TV's Lassie, Hollywood insiders, a Massachusetts industrialist, a beauty pageant contestant, and others, including officials who worried these weapons might harm local television reception, played roles in promoting the arms to Americans.
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