American Forces in Europe

July 20, 1966

Report Outline
Pressure to Reduce U.S. Forces in Europe
Current Status of Nato and U. S. Forces
United States and the Defense of Europe
Special Focus

Pressure to Reduce U.S. Forces in Europe

Maintenance of a large number of American troops in Europe has been virtually an article of faith for United States policy makers since emergence of the Soviet threat after World War II. But in recent months this tenet has come under increased attack from congressional and other skeptics. They cast doubt on the wisdom of relying on a 20-year-old policy in the face of drastically changed conditions.

The new look at the rationale behind heavy commitment of American forces in Europe results from a combination of developments. The review was triggered by France's decision, announced in March 1966, to withdraw from the integrated military command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. President de Gaulle's verdict presented alliance military planners with two problems: 1) whether to replace the French forces withdrawn from the command on July 1 or accept a reduced combat readiness level; and 2) the complicated task of shifting all Nato and American personnel, facilities, and material out of France by next April 1.

At the root of the current discussion of American force levels in Europe is the belief—held widely in Europe and the United States—that there is little likelihood at present of a Soviet attack in the West. A reduction in troop levels therefore would be more acceptable than in the past. It would be doubly acceptable to the United States in view of the growing strain on this country's manpower and fiscal resources. Expansion of the American war effort in Southeast Asia has necessitated increases in an already vast military establishment at a time when 210,000 combat-ready forces are tied down in West Germany. Maintenance of a large number of American troops abroad, moreover, imposes a heavy drain on the U. S. Treasury and contributes markedly to the chronic deficit in this country's balance of international payments.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Sep. 23, 2011  Military Suicides
Sep. 05, 2008  Rise in Counterinsurgency
Aug. 31, 2007  Wounded Veterans
Nov. 19, 2004  Treatment of Veterans
Jun. 25, 2004  Privatizing the Military
May 30, 2003  Reforming the Corps
Apr. 26, 1996  New Military Culture
Jun. 08, 1990  Downsizing America's Armed Forces
Jul. 20, 1966  American Forces in Europe
Jan. 15, 1964  American Troops Abroad
May 21, 1958  Military Reorganization
Feb. 28, 1952  Benefits for Korean Veterans
May 12, 1948  Militarization
Nov. 06, 1946  Veterans' Bonus
Jul. 17, 1946  War Veterans in Civil Life
Nov. 27, 1941  Government Aid to Ex-Service Men
Sep. 27, 1932  The Bonus After the 1932 Elections
Oct. 06, 1930  Veteran-Aid Policies of the United States
Jan. 07, 1924  Congress and the Bonus
Alliances and Security Agreements
Regional Political Affairs: Europe
U.S. at War: Cold War