Eisenhower rejected military chiefs’ demand for nuclear war on China, classified account of ’58 Taiwan Strait crisis reveals
by Gareth Porter
Posted July 24, 2021
A previously censored account of the 1958 Taiwan Strait crisis that was sponsored by the Pentagon has been published in full by the leaker of the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg. The report provides a hair-raising portrait of a reckless US military leadership relentlessly pressing President Dwight Eisenhower for the authority to carry out nuclear attacks on communist China.
After holding the still-classified version of the account in his possession for fifty years, Ellsberg said he decided to release it because of the growing threat of US war with China over Taiwan, and the danger that such a conflict could escalate into a nuclear exchange.
A May 22 New York Times report on the account offered only general details of the role the US Joint Chiefs of Staff played in the run-up to the 1958 Taiwan crisis. However, it is now clear from the original highly classified documents as well as other evidence now available that from the beginning, the Joint Chiefs aimed first and foremost to exploit the tensions to carry out nuclear strikes against Chinese nuclear military targets deep in highly-populated areas. More…