The Gaither committee, Eisenhower, and the Cold War
As the United States struggled to respond to the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik in 1957, President Eisenhower received a top secret report prepared by a committee of leading scientific, business, and military experts. The panel, called the Gaither Committee in recognition of its first chair, H. Rowan Gaither Jr., emphasized the inadequacy of U.S. defense measures designed to protect the civilian population and the vulnerability of the country's strategic nuclear forces in the event of a Soviet attack. The committee concluded that in the event of a surprise Soviet attack, the United States would not be able to defend itself.The years following Sputnik and the Gaither Committee's report were a watershed period in America's cold war history. During the remaining years of the Eisenhower administration, the intensification of the cold war caused the acceleration of an arms race that dramatically raised the stakes of any potential conflict. The Gaither Committee was at the center of debates about U.S. national security and U.S.-Soviet relations. The committee's recommendations led to increases in defense spending and the development of our nuclear arsenal.
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Eisenhowers Core Values
The Establishment and Background
A Year of Turmoil
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Air Defense Air Force American argued atomic ballistic missile billion bombers Briefing Notes Subseries Chiefs of Staff civil defense committee's conclusions Congress continental defenses Cutler DDE Papers December defense spending deterrent Dwight economic Eisen Eisenhower administration Eisenhower Library Eisenhower's emphasized experts fallout shelters FCDA Folder Gaither committee Gaither committee members Gaither report Ibid ICBMs intelligence estimates IRBMs January Jerome Wiesner Joint Chiefs Kennedy launch limited military operations limited war capabilities Lincoln Marshall Foundation Memorandum of Discussion military capabilities Missile Gap National Security Council national security policies national security programs November NSC Series nuclear weapons Oral History OSANSA passive defenses Paul Nitze plans president Project Solarium protect recommendations retaliatory Robert Robert Cutler Secretary of Defense Senate shelter program Soviet attack Soviet Union Sprague Sputnik Strategic Air Strategic Air Command strategy stressed Subcommittee task force technological Truman U.S. military U.S. nuclear