Soviet Military Strategy in the Shadow of the Nuclear Revolution
Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 12:00pm - 2:00pm
Columbia University Morningside Campus Faculty House, Garden Room 2
Please join the Harriman Institute for a lecture by David Holloway, Raymond A. Spruance Professor of International History at Stanford University. Discussant: Robert Jervis, Adlai E. Stevenson Professor and Professor of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University. The first thermonuclear weapons tests (1952-1955) had a profound impact on the political leaders of the three nuclear powers of the time including the Soviet Union, leading them to view a general nuclear war as unacceptable in some profound if ill-defined sense. In this talk I will make use of some newly available materials to examine the development of military strategy in the Soviet Union from 1953 up to the SALT agreements of 1972. What is the appropriate strategy for an unacceptable war? How did Soviet thinking about war change over this time? What shaped the development of Soviet military strategy? This paper draws on a larger project on the international history of nuclear weapons. I will therefore discuss Soviet military strategy in the context of the US-Soviet arms race and explore the impact of American policy and American ideas on Soviet thinking.