- “A subordinate commander faced with a substantial military action,” Kennedy was told in a top-secret memo, “could start the thermonuclear holocaust on his own initiative if he could not reach you.” Kennedy and his national-security advisers were shocked not only by the wide latitude given to American officers but also by the loose custody of the roughly three thousand American nuclear weapons stored in Europe. Few of the weapons had locks on them. Anyone who got hold of them could detonate them. And there was little to prevent NATO officers from Turkey, Holland, Italy, Great Britain, and Germany from using them without the approval of the United States.
I love that they refer to the nuclear holocaust, instead of a nuclear holocaust. Although there could only be one (and thus the use of 'the' may be technically correct), it seems that the use of a definite article makes it sound inevitable, whereas an indefinite article makes it sound like a mere possibility. Amazing story.