Ellsberg: U.S. Military Planned First Strike On Every City In Russia and China … and Gave Field Commanders Power to Push Button

George Washington's picture

Daniel Ellsberg – America’s most famous whistleblower, the former military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers which helped end the Vietnam war – has just published a book revealing that he was also one of the main nuclear war planners for the United States in the 1960s.

Ellsberg said in an interview this morning that the U.S.  had plans for a first strike on every city in Russia and China … and that numerous field-level commanders had the power to start nuclear Armageddon:

[Interviewer] So, you made copies of top-secret reports for plans about nuclear war years before you copied the Pentagon Papers—


DANIEL ELLSBERG: That’s right.


[Interviewer] —and released them to the press?


DANIEL ELLSBERG: Essentially, my notes, and sometimes verbatim excerpts, not the entire plans themselves, but on plans that were then unknown to the president, to begin with, to President Kennedy. I briefed his aide, McGeorge Bundy, in his first month in office on the nature of the plans and some of the other problems, like the delegation of authority to theater commanders for nuclear war by President Eisenhower, which was fairly shocking to McGeorge Bundy, even though Kennedy chose to renew that delegation, as other presidents have.


But I was given the job of improving the Eisenhower plans, which was not a very high bar, actually, at that time, because they were, on their face, the worst plans in the history of warfare. A number of people who saw them, but very few civilians ever got a look at them. In fact, the joint chiefs couldn’t really get the targets out of General LeMay at the Strategic Air Command.


And there was a good reason for that: They were insane. They called for first-strike plans, which was by order of President Eisenhower. He didn’t want any plan for limited war of any kind with the Soviet Union, under any circumstances, because that would enable the Army to ask for enormous numbers of divisions or even tactical nuclear weapons to deal with the Soviets. So he required that the only plan for fighting Soviets, under any circumstances, such as an encounter in the Berlin corridor, the access to West Berlin, or over Iran, which was already a flashpoint at that point, or Yugoslavia, if they had gone in—however the war started—with an uprising in East Germany, for example—however it got started, Eisenhower’s directed plan was for all-out war, in a first initiation of nuclear war, assuming the Soviets had not used nuclear weapons.


And that plan called, in our first strike, for hitting every city—actually, every town over 25,000—in the USSR and every city in China. [Ellsberg isn’t the first to discuss U.S. plans for a nuclear first strike.  In the 1986 book To Win a Nuclear War: The Pentagon’s Secret War Plans, one of the world’s leading physicists – Michio Kaku – revealed declassified plans for the U.S. to launch a first-strike nuclear war against Russia.  The forward was written by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clarke.]  A war with Russia would inevitably involve immediate attacks on every city in China. In the course of doing this—pardon me—there were no reserves. Everything was to be thrown as soon as it was available—it was a vast trucking operation of thermonuclear weapons—over to the USSR, but not only the USSR. The captive nations, the East Europe satellites in the Warsaw Pact, were to be hit in their air defenses, which were all near cities, their transport points, their communications of any kind. So they were to be annihilated, as well.




The weapons, the machinery that will carry this out, this was no hypothetical plan, like Herman Kahn might have conceived at the doomsday machine that he thought up at the RAND Corporation as my colleague. This was an actual war plan for how we would use the existing weapons, many of which I had seen already that time.




Every president has delegated. I don’t know the details of what President Trump has done or since the Cold War. Every president in the Cold War, right through Carter and Reagan, had delegated, in fact, to theater commanders in case communications were cut off. That means that the idea that the president is the only one with sole power to issue an order that will be recognized as an authentic authorized order is totally false.


How many fingers are on buttons? Probably no president has ever really known the details of that. I knew, in ’61, for example, that Admiral Harry D. Felt in CINCPAC, commander-in-chief of Pacific, for whom I worked as a researcher, had delegated that to 7th Fleet, down to various commanders, and they, in turn, had delegated down to people. So when you say, “How many altogether feel authorized?” if their communications are cut off—and that happened part of every day in the Pacific when I was there—communications got better, but the delegations never changed.




Generally, they allow for lower-level majors, colonels to decide, “The time has come. We’ve lost our commanders. The time has come to go.”


Ellsberg says that not much has changed since he served as a nuclear war planner. Indeed, experts say that new U.S. weapons technologies are geared towards first strike capabilities.



Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
silverer's picture

The US government. Transparent as sixteen miles of lead shielding.

nmewn's picture

How bout Trump? He gave the Alinsky media the story of the century on a silver platter.

And they ignored him ;-)

The Gray Man's picture

Yeah. China and Russia have the same plan for us and for each other. That's the point of the nuclear arsenal, two-fold. One, deter nuclear aggression by mutually assured destruction, and two, detering full scale, conventional warfare/invasion by threat of first nuclear strike.

Come on people. This isn't a secret, and it's not unique to the US. Both the US and Russia (and later China) basically came up with the plan together and made it clear that it was in effect.

You can't use your plans to deter the enemy from aggression without telling that enemy the plan you have in the event that they act with aggression. It's a mutual understanding, and it's a big part of why the US and Russia (and now China) still haven't thrown any major punches at each other (since the US vs China in the Korean War).

silverer's picture

That's why submarines are so cool. That's also why China is now building lots of them. You can't know where all the subs are all the time. No such thing anymore as a "clean" pre-emptive strike. He who has the most subs wins.



Lumberjack's picture

Interesting read of the american who financed Israels nuclear bombs.


bunkers's picture

If WE don't vote out democrats AND republicans, we are toast.

theprofromdover's picture

Sounds like Ike already knew he couldn't trust the MIC.

Good solution to say no need to build up reserves, enlistments, hardware, and eventually star wwars.

Just all-in, sounds like a good plan for the times.


frontierland's picture

(((Daniel Ellsberg))) – America’s most famous CIA Limited Hangout

honestann's picture

!!!!!  Great Plan  !!!!!


First, give dozens of people the power to start global thermonuclear war.

Second, tell everyone the only way to "win the game" is to "launch everything first".

Third, release endless streams of false propaganda that makes most people believe Russia is pure evil.


Yeah, what a great way to run a planet!  /sarcasm

I've said consistently that this entire fiat, fake, fraud, fiction, fantasy that "government" exists and is real must be eliminated in the minds of humans.  Otherwise, every human on planet earth will be destroyed.  Which leaves the only remaining question whether any tiny number of humans have managed to establish self-sufficient digs in outer space (asteroid or comet) or on another planet (Mars).

Minburi's picture

Only 3 bomb strikes necessary:


City of London


Then let things sort themselves out.

For a more completer job, NYC, Vatican, Brussels, Cayman Islands.

Truthseeker20's picture

the  globalists who really run america would never let that happen. Russia and china are part of their nwo.

White Devil's picture

ameriKa is really good at killing innocent civilians.


rockstone's picture

“He didn’t want any plan for limited war of any kind with the Soviet Union, under any circumstances, because that would enable the Army to ask for enormous numbers of divisions or even tactical nuclear weapons to deal with the Soviets. So he required that the only plan for fighting Soviets, under any circumstances, such as an encounter in the Berlin corridor, the access to West Berlin, or over Iran, which was already a flashpoint at that point, or Yugoslavia, if they had gone in—however the war started—with an uprising in East Germany, for example—however it got started, Eisenhower’s directed plan was for all-out war, in a first initiation of nuclear war, assuming the Soviets had not used nuclear weapons.“

The problem with this is what exactly? Fuck with us and die.

New_Meat's picture

As a candidate, 1951, Ike intimated that as President, he'd escalate to nukes in Korea, if necessary.  Things settled down.

Verniercaliper's picture

Field commanders wouldn't have control of strategic nukes...that was SAC and you can bet that nothing dropped from a SAC aircraft without LeMay's order. Eisenhower was out of office before an ICBM capability existed to carry out a pin down strike anyway. The actual declassified documents:



These suggest that field commanders were only authorized to use nukes if attaked by Soviet forces. And a surprise attack on SAC bases was impossible with the technology of the time.

Griffin's picture

N-Korea wants to discuss the situation with US and find a solution. Aparently they seem concerned over security.

This seems to be a good opportunity to find a peaceful solution. 


Ocean22's picture

This assumes they WANT peace, they don’t.

Hikikomori's picture

The last time North Korea waged war against another nation was 1953.  The last time the US waged war against another nation was?  So who doesn't want peace again??

oncemore's picture

Dear Mr. Ellsberg,


USA used its A-weapons against civilian cities, to terorize civilians.

the thinga is called WMD.

This thinga is ONLY against civilians.

Against Armies, it is merely conditionally of some tactical  use.

WMD are always against cities.

And US cities will be burned down by russian/soviet nuclear arsenal. Russians have the same doctrine.



military targets can be destroyed also by conventional weapons, but civilian targets are too big to be bombed down with conventional weapons.

roadhazard's picture

I stopped reading when the headline said, "every city."  North Korea prolly has one too.

Aireannpure's picture

Close the borders. Allow all white immigration. Kick out the color. MAGA.

DuneCreature's picture

Goooooood Mooooorrrnning USA!!

Ready for more spine tingling news?

Cody Snodgres: A Cherokee Prayer & DC Cops Mass Arrest =


(Warning - Adult Language - Don't play this video in the Day Care Center at snack time for the little inmates)

Yes, censorship is alive a well in the USA.

Live Hard, *ht* to Robin Williams (RIP) as Airman Second Class Adrian Cronauer, Die Free

~ DC v8.0

VWAndy's picture

 Hey Dune nice to see ya still around. I missed your posts.

DuneCreature's picture

Hey, VWAndy

Good to see you’re still carrying the banner for Truth, Justice and The America Way on ZH.

Although I wouldn’t blame you if you tossed The American Way banner.

America hasn’t set a very good example in years.

Good to sees ya.

Live Hard, Try Not To Twist Your Ankle Living Hard, Die Free

~DC v8.0

strannick's picture

America. Evil and insane. Just waiting for its chance to join communist China and Siviet Russia as one of the great genocidal Empires..tho already its getting close( indo China..Middle East)

DuneCreature's picture

I, for one, am NOT trying to defend the actions of my government or the power and mega money pulling the strings behind the scenes. ... So we agree fully there.

The American people on the other hand I find to be a good group of folks on the whole. ... Dumb sometimes, massively misinformed other times and a bit too self centered and warped up in their private hedonism but not fundamentally evil. ....... Inside the DC beltway has become PURE EVIL on steroids.

Live Hard, Time To Wake Up And Watch Rome Burn, Boys And Girls, Die Free

~ DC v8.0

Boscovius's picture

And this differs from the Russian plan for Mutual Assured Destruction???


Ellsburg is basically broke and wants to make money any way he can.

Demented old man whose time never came and never will.

Just another sick perv who wears pink panties.

11b40's picture

Hey, Chief....Ellsburg blew the whistle on the MIC and probably did more than any single individual to end the Vietnam war, at grreat personal sacrifice.

How giving us a list of your accomplishments.

guru69's picture

Ellsburg is client of mine.  Nice guy.  His shit is smarter than you an all your kin.

Harry Lightning's picture

The really scary part was that this guy was a nuclear war planner and he had to see a psychiatrist for his emotional problems.

Why would they allow unstable characters to have anything to do with pressing the red button ? 

pine_marten's picture

No surviving a nuclear war with dozens of nuke plants melting down.

cookies anyone's picture

Amen, not a single person in the world acknowledges this. Nukes falling is not as much of a problem as the cooling tanks start to blow up. The whole western hemisphere (and south too) sterilized... First strike is suicide in any case

Spetzco's picture

Interestingly, there is a strong body of evidence that the Book of Revelation in the Bible describes a nuclear war during the Battle of Armaggedon.  It seems likely that the day will come when the world will tremble from this unholy force...only to be stopped by the very Holy Force that is the returning God.   Anyway, food for thought.  Helmet on. :-)

Ocean22's picture

No it does not. This is all dispensationalism, populaized by John Darby and the Scofeild BIble. 90% of the book of revelation is about 70AD and the destruction of the Jews by God for killing Jesus, the promised Messiah ( which was God in the flesh. ). This is NEW theology and it’s its terrible exegesis.

Akzed's picture

 "The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near." Rev. 1:1-3


Your misunderstanding of Revelation doesn't survive an honest appraisal of the first three verses.

Griffin's picture

Francis wants to change "The Lords Prayer", one of the most popular prayer of all times.



Francis does not aggree with the current wording of the text. Apparenty he believes that God would not lead us in temptation, and there for that line should be altered.

I wonder what those experts on everything God related will change next.  Is the bible politically correct ?

Is there something in Christianity that could be offensive to other religions ?


Maybe God gives us a choise of several paths we could  take, and if one of them is tempting, but wrong, it is our flawed human nature that takes us that way.

Not God.

Maybe God should give us a paradise to live in, make all our choises for us, blow our noses and wipe our asses trough our entire lives.

That would be incredibly pointless.

Grandad Grumps's picture

We are in the 4th age of the 5th root race in this world. It is the age of chaos. It is designed to challenge us.

We had a paradise to live in... but that was "ages" ago. When this version of humanity is destroyed, there will once again be a golden age, but then it will be for the more spiritually advanced 6th root race.

jin187's picture

Jesus loves me, he loves me a bunch.

That's why he puts Skippy® in my lunch.

White Devil's picture

ameriKa can’t win wars. It is a nation of pussified, video game playing bed wetters.

Greendawg's picture

You just described every shitcoin pumper

jin187's picture

It has nothing to do with those things. We can't win wars because today's military has it's hands tied with political duct tape. There are two types of wars that can't be won by simply killing soldiers. Wars where both sides have near endless supplies of soldiers and arms, and wars where one side has an endless supply of soldiers, and nothing to lose.

The way you win those is to hit them where it hurts. You blow up schools, roads, factories, bridges, dams, refineries, farms, and you fill mass graves with civilians. Our civilian commanders, and paper-pushing political generals don't have the stomach, or the balls for it, so we lose.

T.Gracchus's picture

You sir are just a war-mongering cunt.

taoJones's picture

The way you win those is to hit them where it hurts. You blow up schools, roads, factories, bridges, dams, refineries, farms, and you fill mass graves with civilians


You mean like we're already doing, directly and by proxy, in Syria and elsewhere?

And how's that going?

The best way to win a war is to not be in one in the first place... but that takes diplomacy, a level head, and your finger off the trigger - charactistics the US is lacking on many levels...

Are Putin, Assad, IRGC, Hezbollah, Xi, etc. the only ones reading Sun Tzu?

Codwell's picture

Utter BS. If these capabilities were in the hands of hundreds of Junior officers it would have been leaked decades ago. 

Our nukes have a three prong system for their use. First is launch capability, second is targeting, third is arming the Nuke. None of these systems is in a single person's power. The POTUS can give launch orders and may even have contingencies, but targeting and arming are done on site. 

Ellsberg is an America hating socialist prick. Hope he dies soon.

HeadintheGame's picture

Ah yes, spoken from the bottom of the gene pool.  Hope you didn't father a child.  One more moron we have to listen to.

JailBanksters's picture

Joshua: Shall we play a game?

David Lightman: Love to. How about Global Thermonuclear War?

Joshua: Wouldn't you prefer a nice game of chess?

David Lightman: Later. Let's play Global Thermonuclear War.

hardcleareye's picture

OMG!!  Hell must have frozen over, "The Over the Hedge Boys" have re-posted a video from Democracy Now...

It was a good interview.