U.S. Deliberation During Hungary’s 1956 Uprising Offers Lessons on Restraint, currentaffairs.org

Branko Marcetic, author of Yesterday's Man: The Case Against Joe Biden

[…] We now know, thanks to a 2012 draft study prepared for the historical office of the secretary of defense, that the decision-making of U.S. and other Western officials throughout these crises was driven by the desire to avoid another world war. Eisenhower, thinking of Adolf Hitler’s actions in the face of defeat in an earlier era, feared that Soviet leadership, “in view of the serious deterioration of their position in the satellites, might … resort to very serious measures and even to precipitate global war.”

Other officials were similarly cautious. The Joint Chiefs discussed the risk that “serious defeat by the Soviets could conceivably result in precipitous action on their part.” Defense Secretary Charles Wilson similarly ruled out military intervention to the press, expressing the hope that things would be solved, as “many times they are, by men of good will … work[ing] something out that is just and fair.” […]

When a reporter asked John Foster Dulles if Washington would simply “sit back” and do nothing if the Soviets intervened in Poland, the secretary of state replied that sending in U.S. troops “would be the last thing in the world” that protesters would want, because it “would precipitate full-scale world war, and the probable results of that would be all these people would be wiped out.” Richard Davis of the state department’s policy planning staff produced a paper warning that U.S. intervention, multilateral or not, would lead to “a major crisis with the Soviet Union and possibly the outbreak of general war.” […]

Western officials in hindsight were, if anything, too careful, reluctant to even grant the rebels overt political backing or raise the issue in the Security Council lest it provoke a massacre or worse. But their erring on the side of caution reflected their deep concerns about a wider war and nuclear devastation. Läs artikel