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When the new Eisenhower administration undertook a comprehensive review of American defense policy in the spring of 1953, Security Adviser Cutler asked the president whether the five U.S. divisions in Europe were not merely a psychological crutch for the Western Europeans' will to assert themselves. However, Eisenhowerwho as SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander, Europe) had himself actively joined in the debate on a reinforcement of the United States' direct military commitment in the Old World in 1950-51 following the shock of the Korean War - vehemently disagreed with this suggestion: “He said that he would have sent more American divisions, not fewer, if the United States had had more available, and he stressed that they were a real physical deterrent to the Soviets and not merely a psychological one.” Three years later, however, in the summer of 1956, it was to be his very administration that triggered the most serious German-American crisis of confidence so far with its public reflections on an extensive reduction in the number of troops (the Radford Plan). But this turnabout was by no means as surprising as the alarms in Bonn might have suggested. Despite Chancellor Adenauer’s fears that it was a harbinger of a “withdrawal to ‘Fortress America’,” it did not represent a revolutionary turning point in the European policy of the United States. In fact the Truman and Eisenhower administrations had not committed themselves to a permanent stationing of ground forces in Europe. Moreover, the conventional commitment of the United States as a whole was not an issue in summer 1956 despite the plans to slim the U.S. presence.
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