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Extended Deterrence and the Outbreak of War

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2013

Paul K. Huth
University of Michigan


Successful deterrence, it is argued, requires a combination of military capabilities and bargaining behavior that enhances a defender's credibility without provoking a potential attacker. Hypotheses on the political and military conditions under which extended-immediate deterrence is likely to succeed or fail are formulated and tested by probit analysis on fifty-eight historical cases. The empirical results indicate that (1) the military capability of the defender to deny the potential attacker a quick and decisive victory on the battlefield enhances deterrence; (2) a policy of reciprocity in diplomacy and military actions by the defender contributes strongly to deterrence success; and (3) a past record of backing down under pressure or intransigence in confrontations with the potential attacker increases the likelihood of deterrence failure.

Copyright © American Political Science Association 1988

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