Nuclear deterrence and its effects

Reading through Phillip S. Meilinger’s monograph “Bomber, The Formation and Early Years of Strategic Air Command” I stumbled upon an interesting idea. He writes that:
“And, of course, technology was central to the development of atomic weapons themselves. The bombs dropped on Japan in August 1945 were, for all their extraordinary power, crude devices of great weight and size. As nuclear scientists continued to learn, the bombs they built grew smaller and more powerful, culminating in the thermonuclear revolution that measured power in megatons, not kilotons. At the beginning, however, the secrets of the bomb and its manufacture— indeed, even the number of bombs that existed — were so closely guarded as to cause paranoia among airmen. The basic function of strategic bombing, integral to the Air Force, was dependent upon a weapon over which it had no control and little insight into its design and availability. That would change with the Korean War, but it was not an easy path to that point. Moreover, Korea demonstrated that nuclear war was not inevitable. Major conventional operations could occur under the umbrella of nuclear deterrence. War had stepped back two centuries to the age of limited war, although that was not yet realized at the time.”

I’ve underlined an idea, though leaving explanatory text as intact as possible. An interesting construct considering to million of Chinese volunteers in Korea who have participated in battles but still it have some point. Massive armies of conscripts again began to give way to much smaller and professional forces whom conducting limited operations. The characteristic of a hostile forces en masse are also changed back to tribes or small states which have controls over valuable resources or strategic regions. Just like in the second half of 18th century and through the whole 19th.

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