Master of Arts in Liberal Arts (MALA)
Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein were the only national leaders ever to use large-scale missile launches against American forces and their wartime allies. In both cases, the missiles were too few in number and lacked the accuracy and warhead size to be militarily effective. Use of the V-2 and SCUD missiles showed that conventionally armed ballistic missiles have minimal tactical military value and are more suitable as terrorist weapons. Indeed, the goal of those two meglomaniacal dictators was to terrorize enemy civilians and achieve a political settlement of a hopeless military situation. Each leader hoped to split the Allied coalitions arrayed against him. Hitler turned his missile against London in 1944 hoping to crush British morale and compel public opinion to demand that Prime Minister Winston Churchill seek an end to the conflict short of total victory. Hussein launched his SCUD’s to exploit Arab animosity toward Israel, calculating that terror attacks would trigger Israeli military intervention, provoking a defection of Arab coalition members and forcing the United States and its European allies into a political settlement that would avert military disaster for Iraq. The Allied forces in both cases learned lessons about the limitations of air power as a means of neutralizing a mobile target. Despite massive aerial bombing in both wars, the Allies stopped the mobile launchers only when ground troops overran the launching areas. In the Gulf War, satellites, air supremacy, and Patriot interceptor missiles failed to eliminate the SCUD threat, a task completed by the ground offensive, but such technological advances may prevent future terroristic uses of ballistic missiles. The employment of ballistic missiles has new strategic implications because of the events of September 11, 2001. The global war on terrorism involves the newly defined “axis of evil,” composed of states capable of producing ballistic missiles. Missile technology transfers to third world countries threaten world stability, in view especially of the possible use of nuclear, chemical or biological warheads. If rogue states judge previous missile attacks to be successful, such “success” could motivate other leaders or terrorists to use their missiles as instruments of terror.
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Martin, Edward Scott, "Missiles of terror: Hitler's and Hussein's use of ballistic missiles" (2002). LSU Master's Theses. 3962.
Stanley E. Hilton