By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:12:45 EST, 16  September 2012| UPDATED:12:53 EST, 16 September 2012

Declassified documents have revealed for the  first time how the Carter administration planned to fight a nuclear  war.

Presidential Decision Directive 59, signed by  President Jimmy Carter on July 25, 1980, was one of the most controversial  nuclear policy documents of the Cold War and aimed to give presidents more  discretion in planning for and executing a nuclear war.

But the creators of the document thought the use of nuclear weapons to defeat  conventional troops wouldn’t necessarily result in apocalypse.

Nuclear friendship: U.S. President Jimmy Carter, left, and Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev smile and shake hands while Soviet Foreign Minister Andrej Gromyko, center, applauds in 1979Nuclear friendship: U.S. President Jimmy Carter, left,  and Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev smile and shake hands while Soviet Foreign  Minister Andrej Gromyko, center, applauds in 1979

Sections of the policy were leaked at the  time, and plastered across the front pages of The New York Times  and The Wall  Street Journal, but the National Security Archive made the  entire document  public for the first time this week on its website.

PD-59 reveals that the United States was  indeed preparing to fight a nuclear war, and that the Carter administration  sought nuclear capabilities that ensured a ‘high degree of flexibility, enduring  survivability, and adequate performance in the face of enemy actions.’

If deterrence failed, the US ‘must be capable  of fighting successfully so that the adversary would not achieve his war aims  and would suffer costs that are unacceptable.’

According to Foreignpolicy.com,  a major element of PD-59 was the ‘look-shoot-look’ capability. This involved using sophisticated intelligence to  find nuclear weapons targets in battlefield situations, strike the targets, and  then assess the damage.

Weapons: A U.S. Navy Tomahawk Cruise Missile gains altitude after breaking the surface of the water following its launch in 1979Testing: A U.S. Navy Tomahawk Cruise Missile gains  altitude after breaking the surface of the water following its launch in  1979

A memorandum from NSC military aide William  Odom depicted Secretary of Defense Harold Brown doing exactly that in a recent  military exercise where he was ‘chasing (enemy) general purpose forces in East  Europe and Korea with strategic weapons,’ the website reports.

In other words, he was planning how to use  large nuclear weapons to attack conventional troops.

But Odom and others behind the document did  not believe the use of nuclear weapons to defeat traditional troops would  necessarily lead to apocalypse.

PD-59, which was highly classified for years,  was signed during a period of heightened Cold War tensions due to the Soviet  invasion of Afghanistan, and greater instability in the Middle East among other  concerns.

Media coverage at the time suggested the  changes to US strategy the policy enacted lowered the threshold of a decision to  launch a nuclear attack, with some arguing that the directive would only  exacerbate Cold War tensions.

Presidential Decision Directive 59Presidential Decision Directive 59
Presidential Decision Directive 59Presidential Decision Directive 59
Presidential Decision Directive 59Presidential Decision Directive 59
Presidential Decision Directive 59Presidential Decision Directive 59

Presidential Decision Directive 59 Presidential Decision Directive 59

Presidential Decision Directive 59Presidential Decision Directive 59

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2204151/Declassified-documents-1980-US-planned-fight-nuclear-war.html#ixzz26f9nNUgj