The acid test of the system of alliances is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The combined industrial resources and pool of skilled manpower of NATO still exceed those of the U.S.S.R. by a considerable margin. A NATO Council decision has declared nuclear weapons an integral part of the defense of Western Europe. The force levels of NATO almost necessarily have seemed less important than the determination of the United States to unleash its retaliatory power, if necessary. If NATO insists on maintaining a doctrine developed to meet a different strategic equation, its efforts will become increasingly sterile. The inconsistencies of NATO strategy have reacted perhaps most strongly on Germany, the ally which will have to bear the first impact of a Soviet attack and whose defense contribution has been considered the keystone of NATO. NATO's present cumbersome structure is hardly suitable for the rapid reaction required by nuclear war.