It’s no secret that the US and Russia spent much of the 20th century devising hideously elaborate ways of blowing each other up.
A pair of top-secret memos written by top military chiefs shows the US was intending to implement an ‘overkill’ strategy which would have flattened Russian cities and killed tens of millions of people.
They demonstrate how generals were considering the possibility of unleashing thousands of nukes in a bid to cause ‘95% damage’ to targets such as military facilities and ‘urban-industrial centres’ including major cities.
The files also document plans to blow up 30% of all the people living in 30 Chinese cities, saying this outcome would be ‘desirable’.
The secret files were unearthed by George Washington University’s National Security Archive and shed light on a secret nuclear strategy called the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP), which is often referred to as a ‘doomsday machine’ and has never been declassified.
Researchers are only able to learn about this highly disturbing scheme by reading other documents which discuss it, meaning the release of the two memorandums is a major step forward in understanding the grim fate which would have befallen the world if a nuclear war erupted.
‘US nuclear war plans [made] 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,’ wrote the National Security Archive in a statement.
‘The document, the Joint Staff’s review of SIOP guidance in June 1964, showed continued acceptance by policymakers of the cataclysmic nuclear strike options that had been integral to the plan since its inception. Accordingly, the SIOP set high damage requirements – 95% for the top priority nuclear targets – ensuring that it remained an “overkill” plan, referring to its massively destructive effects.
‘Prepared and continually updated by the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, the SIOP has been characterized by some as a “doomsday machine”.’
The latest declassified document is a review of SIOP conducted by the Joint Staff, a group of senior military leaders.
It lays out plans for retaliatory and preemptive strikes against Russia or China which range in severity from an assault aimed at knocking out nuclear weapons facilities to a blitzkrieg designed to ‘destroy the will and ability of the Sino-Soviet bloc to wage, remove the enemy from the category of a major industrial power and assure a post-war balance of power favourable to the United States’.
The plans also expose a scheme to use ‘population loss as the primary yardstick for effectiveness in destroying the enemy society with only collateral attention to industrial damage’, the National Security Archive added.
What this means is that the US was willing to bomb Russia back to the Stone Age and viewed the destruction of its population as a valid strategy of war.