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Title: Soviet strategic intentions 1965-1985 : an analytical comparison of US Cold War interpretations and Soviet post-Cold War testimonial evidence
Author: Hines John G., J. G.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1996
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The end of the Cold War created an opportunity to examine, through interviews with former Soviet officials, the perceptions, motives and decision-making dynamics that lay behind Soviet Cold-War strategy and behaviour. At the same time, the U.S. declassified key Cold-War-era U.S. National Intelligence Estimates (NIE) on Soviet strategic forces, and high-level U.S. national security officials from that period shared in interviews with the author their perceptions of Soviet strategic intentions and the rationale behind U.S. counter strategies. Such post-Cold-War information from U.S. sources has helped to refine understanding of American Cold-War assessments of Soviet intentions and to permit comparison of the latter with results from the Soviet interviews. This research has revealed instances both of great insight and of serious mutual misunderstanding on the part U.S. and Soviet political leaders and military strategists; as well as areas, such as Soviet force sizing, where the quality of understanding essentially did not matter because the primary determinants were internal and systemic, not international. Areas where the author's findings may be most unexpected for Western scholars include: the Soviet's deeply held, very simple concept of deterrence; the duality of Soviet thinking on nuclear first-use characterized by a purely military preference for first-strike accompanied by profound pessimism that same could be achieved, which led, in turn, to extensive preparations for launch-on-tactical -warning and pure retaliation; and the relatively subordinate position of the Soviet General Staff vis-a-vis the military industrialists, and even the armed services, in actually determining the nature, and especially quantity, of weapons produced to support Soviet military strategy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available