This article elucidates a fundamental feature of transatlantic relations during the Cold War: the presence of more than 250,000 U.S. troops in Europe, mainly in West Germany, from 1952 through 1990. The article explains why this unprecedented commitment was extended for such a long time, despite intense domestic debates in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. Opposition to the troop commitment was particularly strong in Congress. The article shows that the long-term stationing of U.S. troops in Europe was more precarious than often assumed. The article also shows that the debates in the 1960s and 1970s were instrumental in establishing the acceptance of long-term military commitments abroad as a feature of U.S. global policy.

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