Sputnik Escalates the Cold War
Teaser Image

Double-Track Decision, NATO

December 1979 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) decision to deploy U.S. Pershing II and cruise missiles in Europe to counter Soviet SS-20 missiles. The decision was a carrot-and-stick approach to arms reduction. NATO threatened to deploy 572 theater nuclear-force missiles in Europe while at the same time trying to coax the Soviets to engage in negotiations over medium-range arms in Europe. The aim was to eliminate all such missiles from the continent. If arms talks failed, the NATO missiles would be deployed in 1983. The situation was risky, as NATO was essentially trying to persuade Moscow to dismantle its SS-20 missiles by bargaining with missiles that had yet to be deployed.

The moving force behind the policy was Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, West Germany) Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who in a 1977 speech had warned NATO about the political pressure arising from the Soviets' SS-20 deployment. After NATO announced the Double-Track Decision (DTD), mass protests against it spread across Europe, most notably in the FRG and the Netherlands. The ensuing antinuclear movement mobilized hundreds of thousands of people, including many in Schmidt's own party, against the NATO deployment. The FRG nevertheless began deployment of missiles in 1983, and the Soviets consequently broke off arms talks. In December 1987, however, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, effectively reversing NATO's Double-Track Decision.

Beatrice de Graaf


Further Reading
Haftendorn, Helga. "Germany and the Euromissile Debate." International Journal 40(1) (1984–1985): 68–85.; Laqueur, Walter. "'Hollanditis': A New Stage in European Neutralism." Commentary 2(72) (August 1981): 19–26.
 

©2011 ABC-CLIO. All rights reserved.

  About the Author/Editor
  Introduction
  Essays
  A
  B
  C
  D
  E
  F
  G
  H
  I
  J
  K
  L
  M
  N
  O
  P
  Q
  R
  S
  T
  U
  V
  W
  Y
  Z
  Z
  Documents
  Images
ABC-cLIO Footer