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Authors: David Miller

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The Cold War: A MILITARY History

BOOK: The Cold War: A MILITARY History
2.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub



About the Book

About the Author

List of Illustrations



Title Page



1. ‘A Bewildered, Baffled and Breathless World’

2. The Birth of NATO

3. The Development of NATO: 1949–1989

4. Stresses and Strains

5. NATO’S Military Organization

6. The Warsaw Pact


7. The Nature of Nuclear War

8. Nuclear War-Fighting Systems

9. Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles

10. Submarine-Based Missiles

11. Strategic Bombers

12. The Other Strategic Nuclear Powers

13. Civil Defence

14. Assessing the Balance


15. The NATO Navies

16. The Warsaw Pact Navies

17. Nuclear-Powered Attack Submarines

18. Diesel-Electric Submarines

19. Aircraft Carriers

20. Surface Warships

21. NATO’s 1950s Mine-Warfare Programme

22. Amphibious Warfare


23. NATO’s Central Region Ground Forces

24. Warsaw Pact Deployment on the Central Front

25. Main Battle Tanks

26. Infantry

27. Artillery


28. NATO Air Forces

29. NATO Fighter and Attack Aircraft

30. Warsaw Pact Air Forces


31. The Mechanics of Going to War

32. Berlin: Front-Line City of the Cold War

33. Battlefield Nuclear Weapons

34. Conventional War in Europe

35. If Nuclear War had Come

36. The Financial Cost

37. The Cold War in Retrospect


1. Western Union Defence Organization

2. The North Atlantic Treaty

3. The Warsaw Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance

4. Equivalent Ranks and the ‘Star’ System

5. Senior Appointments 1949–1990: NATO and the Warsaw Pact

6. Nuclear Weapons ‘Firsts’

7. German and US Land-Based Strategic Missiles: 1944–1990

8. Soviet Land-Based Strategic Missiles: 1955–1990

9. Sea-Launched Strategic Missiles

10. Ballistic-Missile Submarines

11. Strategic Bombers

12. Strategic Tanker Aircraft

13. Strategic Nuclear Bombs and Bombers: UK

14. Ballistic-Missile Submarines: China, France, UK

15. French Nuclear Weapons

16. Chinese Ballistic Missiles

17. Strategic Missile Balances: 1970, 1980, 1990

18. NATO and Soviet Naval Strengths: 1950

19. Nuclear Submarine Accidents: USSR

20. Soviet Nuclear-Powered Attack Submarines

21. Soviet Diesel-Electric Submarines

22. US Navy Carrier Air Wing: 1980

23. Sea Mines Laid and Damage Caused in the Second World War

24. NATO’s 1950s Mine Countermeasures Programme

25. Main Battle Tanks: NATO and Warsaw Pact

26. Artillery: NATO and Warsaw Pact

27. Tactical Nuclear Weapons Systems

28. A Hypothetical US Counter-Force Attack on Soviet Strategic Forces in 1986


Picture Section





About the Book

From 1949 to 1991 the world was overshadowed by the Cold War. Repeatedly it seemed that in days, even hours, global nuclear conflict would sweep away much of the United States, the Soviet Union and Europe. They would be obliterated in what President Carter described as ‘one long, final and very bleak afternoon’. When the Cold War ended, the Warsaw Pact was wound up and the vast military forces which had flourished for over forty years were disbanded. As with all wars, however, it was only then that the realities of what had been involved began to emerge; indeed, much has remained hidden until now. In The Cold War, David Miller discloses not only the vast scope of the military resources involved, but also how nearly threat came to terrible reality. Most chillingly of all, he reveals that while the menace of nuclear war predominated, it was actually little understood even by the experts. The book examines each military area in turn, covering the formation of the two great alliances, and the strategies and major weapons in the rival navies, armies and air forces. That the Cold War ended without a conflict was due to professionalism on both sides. The result, Miller suggests, would have impressed the Chinese military strategist, Sun Tsu, who, writing in the fifth century BC, said that ‘to subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill’.

About the Author

David Miller’s entire 36-year military career in the British army was spent, like the careers of countless others, under the threat of the Cold War. This book is the result of first-hand experience at the time and of extensive research since. A freelance journalist and author, he has published 25 previous books, most of them on defence subjects.

List of Illustrations

A prelude to the Cold War: the Berlin Airlift, 1948–9

NATO’s first leaders: General Eisenhower and Lord Ismay

NATO at work: President Kennedy in West Berlin, 1963, and the North Atlantic Council meeting in The Hague, May 1979

Confrontation on the streets of West Berlin, October 1961: Soviet tanks and US tanks

Confrontation: in the skies and in public opinion

The Warsaw Pact on exercise and in the conference chamber

Strategic power at sea: the Soviet Typhoon-class missile submarine

Nuclear weapons: Soviet and British

Land-based strategic power: the US Minuteman and Soviet MIRV warheads

The original battlefield nuclear weapons: the US army’s 280 mm ‘atomic cannon’ and the shell that it launched

US seapower: USS
John F. Kennedy
and USS
Kitty Hawk

Sea power: British frigate HMS
and a Soviet Kresta II-class cruiser

NATO solidarity: ships in Grand Harbour, Malta, and the Boeing E-3 Sentry

Different solutions to the air-defence problem: the Soviet ZSU-23-4 and the US Sergeant York

The results of an early attempt to achieve standardization: the French AMX-30 tank and the West German Leopard 1

The symbol of the end of the Cold War: East German guards look on as a West Berliner attacks the Wall, November 1989

The author and publisher wish to acknowledge the following for permission to reproduce illustrations: 1, 3 (above), 4 (above), 4 (below), Landesbildstelle, Berlin; 2 (above), 2 (below), 3 (below), 13 (below), NATO Pictures; 5 (above), US Navy; 5 (below), 6 (above), 7, 9 (above), 9 (below), 11 (below), 12 (below), 14 (above), US Department of Defense; 6 (below), Keystone; 8 (above), Press Association; 8 (below), 90 Squadron, RAF, via Peter Green; 10 (above), 10 (below), US National Atomic Museum; 11 (above), Yarrow Shipbuilders; 12 (above), 13 (above), 16, Popperfoto; 14 (below), Ford Aerospace; 15 (above), AMX, France; 15 (below), Krauss Maffei, Germany.


The Northern Hemisphere

Central Europe: The Cockpit of the Cold War

The Soviet Attack Plan

This book is dedicated to the officers, soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen of all the NATO and Warsaw Pact countries. For forty years they did their duty to their countries, and between them they ensured that the Third World War never started


The Cold War, which seemed such an ever-present reality just a few years ago has now been relegated to history. The mighty armies that faced each other across so many borders in northern, central and southern Europe are now but shadows of their former selves. The navies which patrolled the seas have dispersed, and former enemy armies now spend most of their time on common exercises and in comforting each other about the glories that are gone. The air forces, too, are bemused by the changes that a few years have wrought; vast orders for the most complex and sophisticated machines ever invented by man have been cancelled, training is now minimal, and recruits are hard to find; indeed, some even question the need for air forces at all.

The armed forces were, however, only the public face of the international effort put into the prosecution of the Cold War. Entire industries depended upon the Cold War – tank production, warship construction, warplane manufacturing – as also did many less obvious concerns such as electronics, power-plant and machinery manufacturers. Virtually all governments involved in the Cold War ensured that their national plans revolved around preparing for, fighting and surviving a possible Third World War. Indeed, when the Cold War ended, many things came to light that show just how thorough and far-reaching the preparations had been. Buried headquarters and survival shelters, which only a very select few had ever known about, were advertised for sale. Huge strategic stockpiles of commodities such as coal, oil, sugar and flour were publicly acknowledged and sold off. Secret arsenals of weapons for use by guerrilla forces were revealed, even in ostensibly neutral countries such as Austria. But many more facets of the conflict probably remain unknown, even to this day.

BOOK: The Cold War: A MILITARY History
2.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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