U.S. Nuclear War Plan Option Sought Destruction of China and Soviet Union as “Viable” Societies

15 August 2018 — National Security Archive

Pre-delegation Instructions Excluded Yugoslavia from Attack on “Sino-Soviet” Nations

The SIOP Revisited

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 638View the posting

Washington, D.C., August 15, 2018 – U.S. nuclear war plans during the Johnson administration included the option of a retaliatory strike against nuclear, conventional military, and urban-industrial targets with the purpose of removing the Soviet Union “from the category of a major industrial power” and destroying it as a “viable” society.

This is one of the disclosures from a Joint Staff review of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP), obtained via a Mandatory Declassification Review request by the George Washington University-based National Security Archive and posted on our site today.

Another recently declassified document the Archive acquired through MDR includes a telling feature of U.S. plans during the Johnson administration for advance authorization of nuclear weapons use. In the event the Soviets launched a surprise attack and the U.S. president was missing in action, U.S. strategic forces would launch a retaliatory strike against the entire Sino-Soviet bloc – except for Yugoslavia. 

This posting is the Archive’s latest on the history of the SIOP, the concept of “overkill,” and U.S. nuclear weapons strategy generally.

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THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.

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