Thousands of nuclear antiaircraft arms were designed, tested and deployed in the United States during Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidency. These Army "Nike-Hercules" missiles, Air Force "Genie" rockets, and "BOMARC" and "Falcon" missiles were meant to counter a raid by attacking Soviet bombers. U.S. policy makers believed that the American weapons could safely compensate for technological limitations which otherwise made it difficult to destroy high flying, fast moving airplanes. By recounting official actions, doctrinal decisions, and public policies, Continental Defense in the Eisenhower Era traces this armament from conception through deployment. It also discusses the widespread acceptance of these weapons by the American public, a result, in part, of being touted in news releases, and featured in films and television episodes at the time.
About the Author
CHRISTOPHER J. BRIGHT is an independent scholar of twentieth-century American political and diplomatic history.
“This pathbreaking book explores a neglected aspect of US nuclear history, as the Eisenhower administration deployed thousands of nuclear-armed planes and missiles around the nation’s air bases and urban centers. Christopher J. Bright’s welcome study illuminates how presidential decision-making, corporate interests, inter-service rivalries, think-tank calculations, and even popular-culture productions profoundly influenced American life in the fear-gripped early Atomic Age.”--Paul S. Boyer, author of By the Bomb’s Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age
“Christopher J. Bright has written an important book that fills in lost chapters of the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. His extensive research and clear writing focus on antiaircraft nuclear weapons, the defensive mission which is less known than the offensive ballistic missiles and bombers which were so prominent during the Cold War.”--Robert S. Norris, author of Racing for the Bomb: General Leslie R. Groves, The Manhattan Project’s Indispensable Man