or action against the Soviets, and Eisenhower's inability to confront them militarily in Europe or elsewhere that instigated the rationale behind the 'New Look' foreign policy that began in 1954.
The concept was to create a large-scale nuclear force capable of massive retaliation. The plan was highly controversial when Eisenhower introduced it and it was considered impractical by both the Navy and the Army (The Army and the New Look, 2001). They viewed the plan as being carried out at the expense of a reduction in forces that would be required to fight a more convention style war. The critics "[...] denounced the 'New Look' as a dangerous gamble likely to force the US in the event of a crisis to choose between a humiliating climb down or the unleashing of a mutually devastating nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union" (Dockrill & Hopkins, 2006, p. 59). The Army insisted that the budget adequately fund a conventional force. The Secretary of Defense would often find himself negotiating among the services for scarce funding. According to the US Army Office of History, "As the Air Force's share of the budget increased in the mid-fifties to procure expensive bombers and missiles and as the United States' capability to wage less than general nuclear war decreased, opposition to the massive retaliation policy mounted" (The Army and the New Look, 2001).
Because the 'New Look' was aimed at massive retaliatory capability, it was primarily aimed at the Air Force. This meant reduction in Army forces and would cause Army Chief of Staff General Ridgeway to remark, "The present United States preoccupation with preparations for general war has limited the military means available for cold war to those which are essentially by-products or leftovers from the means available for general...
Th paper outlines the necessity of 'New Look'. In retrospect, faced with a nuclear threat from the Soviets and their aggressive nature after World War II, the United States did not have a lot of options to attempt to roll back Soviet domination in Eastern Europe. The 'New Look' policies were a reasonable approach in line with the policies of containment practised at the time. Early on into the massive build-up program, it was recognised that nuclear weapons were of no value to discourage an enemy or wage a regional war. When called on to use them in Dien Bien Phu in 1954, Eisenhower was faced with the reality that the eventual outcome was simply too horrendous to ever be of use. Yet, in the long run, the potential of mutually assured destruction may have prevented a major nuclear detonation by either side. The build-up and arms race that resulted from Eisenhower's 'New Look' foreign policy left a deep and lasting impression on the American psyche. It created the biggest arms race in the history of the world and as for preventing a nuclear attack, whether it did or not, we are certain that it did not happen.