Elusive Equality: The Nuclear Arms Race in Europe and the History of the INF Treaty, 1969-1988 Open Access

Vigil, D. Nathan (2014)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/qf85nb40f?locale=en


This dissertation draws upon thousands of recently-available American, Soviet, and European documents to present a compelling narrative of the nuclear arms race in Europe and the history of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty from 1969-1988. It argues that although the United States, the Soviet Union, and the European members of NATO all claimed to support equitable arms control agreements, conflicting definitions of nuclear equality perpetuated the arms race in Europe and undermined efforts to achieve an arms limitation treaty. While exploring the complex history of US-Soviet arms control negotiations, the dissertation sheds new light on the Soviet view of the arms race from 1969-1976, Henry Kissinger's secret negotiations with Soviet leaders from 1969-1974, the logic behind the Soviet decision to begin deploying its SS-20 missiles in 1976, the reasons why NATO had such difficulty formulating a unified response to these new Soviet missiles at the start of Jimmy Carter's presidency in 1977, President Carter's bungling of the neutron bomb affair in 1978, the fragility of the NATO dual-track decision in 1979, Margaret Thatcher's role in the deployment of American missiles in Europe in 1983, the paradox at the heart of Ronald Reagan's policies toward the Soviet Union from 1981-1988, the Soviet reaction to President Reagan's hard line policies from 1981-1984, and the importance of new ideas and personal relationships in Mikhail Gorbachev's decision to abandon the Soviet pursuit of nuclear equality and make numerous concessions to the United States in order to achieve the INF Treaty in 1987.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter One 40

Competing Definitions of Equality, 1969-1971

Chapter Two 97

Kissinger's Duplicitous Diplomacy, 1969-1972

Chapter Three 148

Brezhnev and the Breakthrough at Vladivostok, 1972-1974

Chapter Four 200

SALT and the SS-20 Missile, 1974-1976

Chapter Five 235

Carter and the Neutron Bomb Fiasco, 1977-1978

Chapter Six 288

The NATO Dual-Track Decision, 1978-1980

Chapter Seven 327

Reagan, Thatcher, and NATO Deployment, 1981-1983

Chapter Eight 363

The Reagan Paradox, 1981-1984

Chapter Nine 394

Gorbachev's New Thinking and the INF Treaty, 1985-1988

Conclusion 460

Bibliography 474

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