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Posted: 12/8/2006 3:27:33 PM EST
Any cold war historians here? It is easy to see alot of similarities in policy today. Here is the first question. When do you think it ended?

1.When Berlin wall fell?
2.Collapse of Soviet Union?
3. Gorbachov's decision to release Eastern Europe from Warsaw Pact?
4. Other?


Second question
How important was the nuclear status quo? What impact did it have on US/Soviet Relations?
Link Posted: 12/8/2006 7:01:59 PM EST
#2 I'd have to say, for me, it was when the Soviet flag was lowered for the last time over the Kremlin. I never will forget that.

Could you elaborate on your second question please. Do you mean how important was MAD or the United State having a nuclear advantage from the beginning?
Link Posted: 12/9/2006 10:34:49 AM EST

Originally Posted By sabre_kc:
#2 I'd have to say, for me, it was when the Soviet flag was lowered for the last time over the Kremlin. I never will forget that.

Could you elaborate on your second question please. Do you mean how important was MAD or the United State having a nuclear advantage from the beginning?


Sure,

MAD is absolutely what I was referring to. I am always interested in those of the opinion that the existence of nuclear weapons actually reduces the amount of wars fought.

Here is something to think about as well. The US essentially created the Soviet Union as a super power by making nuclear weapons the symbol of power. The Soviets never had anything else. Their economy was never a successful and were it not for US foreign policy focus on weapons races they would have never reached the prominence they did. George Kennan is my hero, he knew this from the begining. If only we had heeded the Long Telegram from the start.
Link Posted: 12/9/2006 10:52:48 AM EST
The existence of small numbers of nukes doesn't keep the peace but when everybody has a pretty good chance of being vaporized, it helps to keep things from getting out of hand as long as a violent death isnt a glorious thing like in middle eastern countries. It worked very well from the superpowers once MAD was established.
Link Posted: 12/10/2006 6:55:19 PM EST
The soviets had more than just nukes. They had more access to natural resources within their sphere of influence to put the US to shame. Luckily, leninism-marxism proved to be a poor way to harness those resources.

Link Posted: 12/19/2006 11:13:26 AM EST
The end of 1991 was the end of the SU, right around christmas. Just about 15 years ago.

Nukes were important, well really it was only import that the enemy thought you had a shit ton of really powerful nukes; and we both did. Nukes were only importeant in having a good way to get them on target, have a lot, and make sure everyone on earth knows you have a lot. Thats the whole point. Have a large amount of tactical nuculer weapons helped the US think that Russians wouldnt storm Europe if the US pulled troops out of Germany to go to Vietnam.

People put too much emphasis on the tecnical side of nukes, both sides probably should have spend more defense money on small arms and training. There was a much bigger chance that a million+ screaming russians would come pouring over the German border than a nuke attack. Conventional arms win wars, nuclear weapons prevent them.
Link Posted: 12/23/2006 6:08:19 AM EST

Originally Posted By JUSTACOP:
Any cold war historians here? It is easy to see alot of similarities in policy today. Here is the first question. When do you think it ended?

1.When Berlin wall fell?

I think this was the true end to the cold war. The USSR was still in power and the Warsaw Pact were still in force. The DGR did nothing to stop the wall from comming down despite still being a combloc nation. From the time the wall came down, it took roughly two years for the USSR and the Warsaw Pact to become history.

2.Collapse of Soviet Union?

See above.

3. Gorbachov's decision to release Eastern Europe from Warsaw Pact?

See above.

4. Other?

See above.


Second question
How important was the nuclear status quo? What impact did it have on US/Soviet Relations?


MAD is without a doubt the ONLY thing that kept the Soviets from over running Europe during the cold war. For those of you that think we could have held out against a conventional asault, I give the following information. By the time the early 1970's rolled around, USAREUR had loosing the war in Europe down to about three weeks. I'm not saying this to be funny. USAREUR has studied the problem, and thorugh war gaming had determined that because of the Vietnam War and it's effect on the U.S. military, the Soviets could make it across Europe before we could stop them. We had started REFORGER exercises in 1967, but it was far from a smooth operation in the early 1970's. We also know from the archives of the GDR that the Soviet strategy for taking Europe was to nuke everything in their way, and then drive to the Atlantic coast of Europe. This came as quite a shock to the U.S. because both sides were publicly stating that their nukes were for defence only. One of critical pieces of information that the USSR tried to get was the USAREUR protocall for the release of tactical and theater nukes. The Soviets had to know down to what level of command could initiate a nuclear release, because they had to be sure to take out that level of command in their first strike. As I said at the beginning, MAD was the ONLY thing keeping the Soviets from thinking they could pull off an invasion of the NATO countries.
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 7:56:32 PM EST
The smartest thing we did in the CW was to open relations with China with Bush 1's inroads and then Nixon's visit. The Chicoms were getting really antsy about Soviet "hegemony" (any other old farts remember that term?) and were looking for a way to pressure them out of their desired sphere of influence. Both the US and China knew the Russians were powerful, but not powerful enough to take us both on at the same time. Niether Nixon nor Kissenger were stupid enough to see the Chinese as an "ally", but they did recognize a billion oppurtunistic fucks when they saw them. The US defense posture depended on the Chinese capitalizing on any Soviet weakness that would exist after any armed conflict with us to prevent outright Soviet victory (elimination of the US as a world power).

If I remember correctly, Soviet assessments of their capability against China - total amount of people that they could kill with ALL of their weapons employed- was only about 480 million. Even in the early 70's, USSR realized that only being able to kill half the Chinese left them on the wrong end of the math.

Another major deterrent was John Wayne, but that is another story...........
Link Posted: 1/3/2007 8:18:24 PM EST

Originally Posted By superchief:
The smartest thing we did in the CW was to open relations with China with Bush 1's inroads and then Nixon's visit. The Chicoms were getting really antsy about Soviet "hegemony" (any other old farts remember that term?) and were looking for a way to pressure them out of their desired sphere of influence. Both the US and China knew the Russians were powerful, but not powerful enough to take us both on at the same time. Niether Nixon nor Kissenger were stupid enough to see the Chinese as an "ally", but they did recognize a billion oppurtunistic fucks when they saw them. The US defense posture depended on the Chinese capitalizing on any Soviet weakness that would exist after any armed conflict with us to prevent outright Soviet victory (elimination of the US as a world power).

If I remember correctly, Soviet assessments of their capability against China - total amount of people that they could kill with ALL of their weapons employed- was only about 480 million. Even in the early 70's, USSR realized that only being able to kill half the Chinese left them on the wrong end of the math.


Interesting observation, thanks!
Link Posted: 1/27/2007 8:55:56 AM EST
As for the original question, the cold war stopped when the soviet union dissolved. That said, the event that got the snowball rolling was hungary's decision to allow eastern germans to defect across their border with west germany. It could be said that the pope and the pole's solidarity movement was what gave the Hungarians the courage to open up their border and defy the USSR. Once one warsaw pact country got away with defiance of the USSR, it was only a matter of time until the warsaw pact was dead in the water.
Link Posted: 1/27/2007 9:23:20 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/27/2007 6:30:38 PM EST by AlvinYorkII]
I don't think the war per se is over, just changed forms. We don't have a military competitor today in Russia, we have an economic competitor in Russia and also China. After nearly eighty years of relativly low impact conflict between us and the Russians we still haven't resolved our differences. They are still attempting to put road blocks in our way. Do you really think that if they had the chance to hurt us horribly economically they would pass up the chance if they could do it even if it took Militant Arab proxies?
Link Posted: 1/28/2007 11:18:55 PM EST
The end of the cold War was when the Soviet Union dissolved. The beginning of the end may have been when Reagan was elected. Aleksander Solzenitshyn and his books, especially The Gulag Archipelago,

I was on a JCS exercise in November 1989 and the gist of the exercise was the East Germans decided to relax some aspects of their relations with West Germany, with the play being reacting to the Soviet activities. Unfortunately it started about then and things moved so fast that the Soviet Union was unable to react, other than trying to get their troops and weapon out of Eastern Europe. Quite an exciting period. Our Command Briefings were Exercise scenario, and then REAL WORLD, with the real world overtaking and speeding by the exercise. I was on active duty in the Navy from 76 to 80 and that was a real downer.

My senior year in NROTC we had a class in International Strategy of Nuclear Weapons, taught by a SALT Negotiator who had a USAF Bird Colonel as his lead Assistant.

Lech Walesa and the Polish Unions striking in the Shipyards, Pope John Paul the Second, the Baltic States, German decisions to start talks that mushroomed, the people tearing down the wall. I grew up with a Dad in the Army Reserve and gatting alerted for the Berlin Wall Crisis, seeing the initial barbed wire barriers, the more permanent barriers, escapees getting killed, the tunnels, samizdat, Soviet Olympic Teams,

the damned Moral Equivalency arguments of the pinkos, commies and useful idiots, political terrorism in the US and around the world supported by the Comintern/KGB, etc.
Link Posted: 2/5/2007 8:35:19 PM EST
height=8
Originally Posted By AlvinYorkII:
I don't think the war per se is over, just changed forms. We don't have a military competitor today in Russia, we have an economic competitor in Russia and also China. After nearly eighty years of relativly low impact conflict between us and the Russians we still haven't resolved our differences. They are still attempting to put road blocks in our way. Do you really think that if they had the chance to hurt us horribly economically they would pass up the chance if they could do it even if it took Militant Arab proxies?hatCold War took a momentary pause and changed the way it's being fought, but it's still here. Until Russia crawls out of it's long history of oppresive dictators and fundamental opposition to everything outside it's borders, this will continue.
Link Posted: 2/6/2007 4:32:15 PM EST

Originally Posted By AlvinYorkII:
I don't think the war per se is over, just changed forms. We don't have a military competitor today in Russia, we have an economic competitor in Russia and also China.

I agree.

Two things to add:

- If you think the cold war was against the USSR then it ended when the soviet union fell. If you think it was against socialism then it's far from over.

- The current warfare between us and various former Soviet states takes several forms. Instead of the KGB we have various mob organizations. Instead of nuke subs playing games along the edge of our waters we have computer crimes.
Link Posted: 2/11/2007 6:24:28 PM EST
I think the start of the end of the Cold War was the fall of the Berlin Wall. In a sense, the Soviet Union was retreating because it couldn't/wasn't willing to exert its force on its possesions like East Germany.

And I disagree with an earier poster. The Soviet Union became a super power by defeating Nazi Germany and taking over Cuba, African, & Asian possesions.

My end of the Cold War was Yelstin staring down the coup commanders who kidnapped Gorbachev.
Link Posted: 2/12/2007 5:41:58 PM EST
[Last Edit: 2/12/2007 5:46:19 PM EST by AlvinYorkII]

Originally Posted By SS109:
I think the start of the end of the Cold War was the fall of the Berlin Wall. In a sense, the Soviet Union was retreating because it couldn't/wasn't willing to exert its force on its possessions like East Germany.

And I disagree with an earlier poster. The Soviet Union became a super power by defeating Nazi Germany and taking over Cuba, African, & Asian possessions.

My end of the Cold War was Yelstin staring down the coup commanders who kidnapped Gorbachev.



With Putin (by the way he's ex KGB) calling us the aggressors at every turn, the Chinese blowing up satellites(targeting data provided by the Clinton Administration) , Eurpore wimping out on just about everything(the French and Spanish in particular), a meglomaniac from Korea threatening everyone, the continuation and expansion of the Cold War is just getting more and more dangerous. This despite there are some that foolishly believe that it is over.
Link Posted: 2/12/2007 6:04:21 PM EST

Originally Posted By AlvinYorkII:

Originally Posted By SS109:
I think the start of the end of the Cold War was the fall of the Berlin Wall. In a sense, the Soviet Union was retreating because it couldn't/wasn't willing to exert its force on its possessions like East Germany.

And I disagree with an earlier poster. The Soviet Union became a super power by defeating Nazi Germany and taking over Cuba, African, & Asian possessions.

My end of the Cold War was Yelstin staring down the coup commanders who kidnapped Gorbachev.



With Putin (by the way he's ex KGB) calling us the aggressors at every turn, the Chinese blowing up satellites(targeting data provided by the Clinton Administration) , Eurpore wimping out on just about everything(the French and Spanish in particular), a meglomaniac from Korea threatening everyone, the continuation and expansion of the Cold War is just getting more and more dangerous. This despite there are some that foolishly believe that it is over.


If your enemy mutates beyond his original form, is he still the same enemy?
We should still watch the Russians & the Chinese, but I wouldn't consider them idealogical opponents of the West & Capitalism. The Chinese have adopted a form of Dictator capitalism and Russia is closer to the corrupt Tsarist model than Lenin's collectivism.

Personally I am more concerned about illegals in America, both Arab and Hispanic.
Link Posted: 2/14/2007 6:16:38 PM EST
The article in the link gives a pretty honest overview of events in Russia during the last decade or so, from someone who was there. Yes, it was published in the New Yorker, but don't let that keep you from reading it. It's a fairly long article, so set aside some time.

www.newyorker.com/printables/fact/070129fa_fact_specter
Link Posted: 2/16/2007 8:48:59 AM EST

The cold war ended when the math didn't result in the USSR winning. Yes they could have squashed Europe. Did squashing Europe win the war for Hitler? The real target was always America. The USSR could not both build a army big enough to take on America and ever get it to America. There was some hope that they could eventually do it, but by the late 1980's it was apparently never going to happen on the current course. Even if China sided with them it would have just delayed the only real outcome of a war. If war had broken out between all communist forces and the United States, sure they could have taken Europe. Would be a excellent way of using up Soviet ammunition. America would have been perfectly safe behind the oceans. Any naval or air threat exterminated. Then America would of just switched from a economy focused on consumer goods to a economy focused on war. The results would have been the complete destruction of all opponents. The Soviet Union and all potential allies had there economies long focused on war. They had barely any reserve compacity to switch to making weapons. Since America could make a good deal of military goods with such a small percentage of the economy devoted to it, well the Soviet Union would have been doomed. Unless of course they made some serious changes in their ways before any potential war.
Link Posted: 2/16/2007 7:41:16 PM EST
Having been in the active Surface Navy in the late 70's and Reserves until the mid-90s, I would say that your confidence in the Naval threat being eliminated is overly optimistic.
Link Posted: 2/17/2007 11:25:08 AM EST
IMHO the beginning of the end of the USSR was GW I. When they saw us move an army of 500k halfway around the world, going on the attack against a soviet trained, equiped and dug in army over twice the size of ours, I think they realized that on the defense in europe, on ground we had trained on for allmost 50 years, there was no way in hell they could take western europe conventionally.
Link Posted: 2/23/2007 4:41:53 PM EST
With all due respect to those contributing to this thread, I must say that I believe that the Cold War never ended, just the names were changed on the Soviet/Russian side of the ticket. If anything, we have become even more vulnerable, to more groups and foreign powers, than heretofore...

The existence of MAD was best accepted, and played upon, by the Soviet Union, who did not have either the throw weight, accuracy in CEP (Circular Error of Probability), or reliability in either weapons or weapons delivery systems. From the very beginning, the Soviet Union's doctrine was to overcome quality with quantity. In time, they did improve their forces, but that was also dependent upon their economy, and their self perceived need for a military more able to confront the U.S. and its allies, and the ability to amass large forces to attain non-military needs.

MAD HELPED the Soviet Union, whereas it was an inhibitor upon U.S. foreign policy, the space race, and myriad other goals/projects that were to suffer, or be ended in the West... Truth be told, American foreign policy has long been a failure, due to diplomatic fear of the Soviet Union/Russia. Now, with mixed signals, no long range planning, and very poor leadership, the U.S. is stymied by it's own lack of vision.

It is unlikely that Soviet/Russian generals and field grade officers thought that they could achieve deliverable overwhelming force, able to thoroughly subdue or destroy the U.S. The Strategic Triad, now no longer mentioned, or maintained, was capable of surviving a first strike, and in so doing, able to actually reduce the Soviet Union/Russia to glowing embers... True, casualties would have been horendous, but the outcome was never in doubt...

When it became obvious that the intelligence agencies of the US had overestimated their power (the Soviet Union/Russia), both economic and military, something had to be done. A total collapse could not be allowed, therefore the Soviet Union/Russia was encouraged to self implode... Germany took the brunt, absorbing it's malnourished brother, and good, old fashioned "capitalism" was inculcated in the Eastern European countries. Russia, no longer on the world stage, revamped and revitalized itself, and is now just as great a danger as before, yet working through agents in other nations, and behind the scenes... Many thought that the KGB had gone out of service, but it simply moved people around, changed its name, and became even more adept at undermining the West...

Forgive my ramblings. Rant off...

CFL
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