On the basis of recently released archival sources from several member-states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), this article revisits the making of NATO's landmark 1979 dual-track decision. The article examines the intersecting processes of personal, bureaucratic, national, and alliance high politics in the broader Cold War context of increasingly adversarial East-West relations. The discussion sheds new light on how NATO tried to augment its deterrent capability via the deployment of long-range theater nuclear missiles and why ultimately an arms control proposal to the Soviet Union was included as an equal strand. The 1979 decision owed most to West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt's political thought and initiative. Intra-alliance decision-making, marked by transatlantic conflict and cooperation, benefitted from the creativity and agency of West German, British, and Norwegian officials. Contrary to popular impressions, the United States did not truly lead the process.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.