In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Soviet Union and its East European allies sought to prevent the installation of U.S. nuclear missiles in Western Europe by embarking on a diplomatic “peace offensive” that included proposals for the creation of denuclearized zones in various geographical areas of Europe. This article considers how the NATO countries responded to these proposals. In the end, the Western allies rejected proposals for the denuclearization of the Balkans and other areas in Europe, but discussions within NATO's councils often proved complicated, especially regarding southern Europe. In the case of the 1957 Stoica proposal for the denuclearization of the Balkans, the leading NATO countries stepped back and let Turkey and Greece reject the proposal, but by 1963, in the aftermath of the Cuban missile crisis, the United States and other key allied countries as well as the NATO bureaucracy assumed a more active role in evaluating and ultimately rejecting the notion of denuclearization in the Mediterranean.

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