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In Defence of the West: General Lauris Norstad, NATO Nuclear Forces and Transatlantic Relations 1956–1963

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In the history of NATO, lack of Atlantic communality is a recurring theme. Atlantic cohesion was constantly challenged. However, the discord among NATO members rarely threatened the very existence of the Alliance. The late 1950s and early 1960s witnessed such a rare occurrence. In Europe the question of nuclear sharing triggered the development of blue-prints for a step-by-step replacement of the Atlantic security co-operation by a European Security Community. These blueprints were discussed among the EEC member-states and within the forum of the WEU. This study analyses not only those concepts, but also the role of the SACEUR, General Norstad, in defending NATO from external threats and internal decay. By studying the leeway of the SACEUR, this study tries to establish whether the subsystem of the international system, formed by the nations of the North Atlantic area after the Second World War, should be characterised as a system of hegemonic stability or as a pluralistic security community. The article is based on recently declassified archival material from both sides of the Atlantic.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2006


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