The First Defence–Rhine–Alps–Piave Line 1950–60


Map Code: Ax01071

NATO began their ‘Forward Defence’ strategy, after the June 1950 invasion of South Korea by Soviet-backed North Korea. It was developed to defend central Europe against invasion by the Soviet Union, considered by the Allies to be an aggressive superpower. If the Soviet Union was undeterred by the US’s possession of nuclear weapons and invaded central Europe, the strategy would be implemented. Plans were made, known as DROPSHOT, for a NATO response in the event of a hypothetical Soviet invasion in 1957. Between 1950–52, the NATO allies mobilized military units in West Germany, the Netherlands and northeastern Italy, on the assumption that the most likely scenario for a Soviet attack would be across the G.D.R border into the G.F.R and along the Rhine-Alps-Piave line. In 1960, the strategy was amended to accommodate the fact that both NATO and the USSR had high yield thermo-nuclear weapons.

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