Counterattack or Delay: Characteristics Influencing Decision Makers' Responses To the Simulation of an Unidentified Attack

Charles F. Hermann, Margaret G Hermann, Robert A. Cantor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


This paper reports a secondary analysis of a series of simulation runs which explored the effects of a broad array of variables on a nation's response to an imminent strategic attack from an unidentified source. Seven variables appeared as important in determining whether a nation would counterattack or delay retaliation when given such a warning. These variables include availability of a weapon survivability system, the economic and force capabilities of the nation, the decision makers' perceptions of the degree of tension in the world and of the degree of ambiguity in the situation, as well as the decision style and level of self-esteem of the decision makers. The results suggest that factors other than the invulnerability of weapon systems are involved in maintaining the stability of deterrence in an extreme crisis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-106
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1974
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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