Aletho News


A history of US threats to use nuclear weapons

By David North | WSWS | October 5, 2022

The Biden administration and the media present Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons in response to military setbacks as an unprecedented break with long-established and hitherto unquestioned rules of international statecraft. This narrative is a lie.

In fact, the United States and other imperialist powers have not only considered on several critical occasions using nuclear weapons to reverse military defeats. They have directly threatened to drop atom bombs in order to extract concessions from their enemies.

There are the well-documented demands of General Douglas MacArthur for the dropping of nuclear bombs on China, President Eisenhower’s weighing of France’s request for the detonation of nuclear devices at Dien Bien Phu, and President Kennedy’s threats during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Far less known and even more serious were the use of nuclear threats by President Nixon against the USSR and Vietnam. Operation Giant Lance was initiated on October 27, 1969, according to Wikipedia, to force a settlement of the Vietnam War on terms favorable to the US.

According to Wikipedia, Nixon “authorized a squadron of 18 B-52 bombers to patrol the Arctic polar ice caps and escalate the nuclear threat … to coerce both the Soviet Union and North Vietnam to agree on favorable terms with the US, and conclusively end the Vietnam War.”

Nixon made use of what was referred to as the “madman” tactic to convince the Soviet Union that he was capable of ordering a nuclear strike. Another operation, related to Giant Lance, was “Duck Hook.”

Its purpose was to force North Vietnam, using the threat of a massive nuclear strike, to accept US terms for ending the war. Wikipedia states that Duck Hook called for the nuclear bombing of military targets throughout North Vietnam. This included “the saturation bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong, the bombing of dikes to destroy the food supply of much of the population of North Vietnam, air strikes against North Vietnam’s northeast line of communications as well as passes and bridges at the Chinese border …”

Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s criminal accomplice, told the president that the US had to be prepared to use nuclear weapons. In a memo to Nixon, Kissinger wrote: “To achieve its full effect on Hanoi’s thinking, the action must be brutal.”

Eventually, because of doubts about its strategic effectiveness and fear of a violent popular reaction, Duck Hook was not implemented. But Nixon continued to threaten Vietnam and the Soviet Union with nuclear war.

This history proves that 1) the claims that Putin is breaking a previously unquestioned taboo on the use of nuclear weapons are fraudulent; and 2) that the US, if confronted with the prospect of military defeat, would certainly resort to nuclear warfare.

Knowing that the US would use nuclear weapons if confronted with a desperate military situation, the Biden administration’s relentless efforts to push Putin into a corner and force capitulation are totally reckless.

October 7, 2022 - Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular |


  1. During the ‘American War’ in Vietnam, Pentagon armchair General Curtis “Bombs away” LeMay urged the American Government to use Nuclear Weapons in Vietnam. LeMay famously bragged, during the “American War” on Korea that, “we destroyed 90% of the Buildings and killed 20% of the population”(as if that was an honourable achievement).
    The USA lost both wars and were driven out.

    Talking tough does not automatically guarantee victory.


    Comment by brianharryaustralia | October 7, 2022 | Reply

  2. The “desperate military situation” described in the last paragraph of this article is that Biden and his NWO ilk are losing the war in Ukraine, thereby, in accordance with historical evidence above, would most likely push nuclear war against Russia. Russia has/had every right to defend itself against the encroachment against NATO (USA lead) against its borders. The USA has broken and not honored any and all previous agreed to laws, agreements and treaties and refuses to sit down at a negotiating table with Russia, and is actively trying to promote war with Russia…while at the same time lying to the American people via their propaganda out and out lying media that they are winning and it is Russia trying to promote nuclear war. Why does the US Government think that the Ukraine is any of their business anyway ? It is halfway across the world…and they are spending American tax payers $$ to furnish weaponry to Ukraine.
    Oh, yes…it was America who in 2014 under the Obama administration overthrew (a coup) the Kiev Ukraine government and has been actively training the Ukrainians for war with Russia, who is a sovereign nation. This whole thing was created by America in 2014 to bring Russia to its knees…but this won’t happen. Read Putin’s speech upon welcoming the four territories into Russia after they voted to join Russia. The Truth will set us all free.


    Comment by Jo Ann | October 8, 2022 | Reply

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