Naval War College Review

Article Title

No First Use


As the tremors of the great political upheavals in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union continue to rumble through the world, a host of political, economic, and military issues have been raised for Nato. One of the most emotional of these issues is whether Nato should retain its stated option to initiate the use of nuclear weapons in response to an overwhelming conventional attack by an aggressor (sometimes referred to as the "first use" option). President Gorbachev sharpened debate on this question by repeated renunciation of the first use of nuclear weapons by the Soviet Union and by his challenge to the United States and Nato to do the same.