The Fifty-Year War: Conflict and Strategy in the Cold War

The Fifty-Year War: Conflict and Strategy in the Cold War

by Norman Friedman


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For fifty years the Cold War shaped our lives and divided our world and its influence will continue for decades to come. While other authors have portrayed the period as an uneasy "peace" enforced by the mutually assured destruction of atomic and nuclear weapons, Norman Friedman has synthesized a vast array of information from a diverse spectrum of sources on both sides of the Iron Curtain and come up with some foundation-shattering new conclusions. His book is already being considered a landmark study by those privileged to see the work in progress. The renowned defense analyst has fired a devastating shot over the bow of conventional thinking and set a very high mark for those who follow him in attempting to make sense of one of the most complex and fascinating epochs of world history.

With a depth and scope of analysis unseen in other literature on the subject, Friedman dashes the prevailing notion that the Cold War was but a loose succession of related events and shows instead that it was World War III conducted at a much slower pace than a hot war, allowing for the enduring technological, cultural, and social effects of the past five decades. He is the first to amalgamate geopolitics with the technical and military developments of the last fifty years. Avoiding the trap of blaming it all on ideology, Friedman connects each side's politico-military strategy and central defining character. Among the many questions he discusses are: Was it communism versus capitalism or just old-fashioned Russian imperialism cloaked in a largely irrelevant ideology? Did the West win or did inherent flaws doom the Soviet system from the start?

A recognized authority on twentieth-century warfare and defense strategy, Friedman is uniquely qualified to interpret the importance of geopolitical events and their influence on the future. His ability to convey matters of great complexity with ease and interest is nearly without parallel, and his profound insights will prove useful to specialists and general readers alike. Even his footnotes are entertaining.

From the Soviets' first advances in the Spanish Civil War to the official end of the Soviet state on Christmas Day 1991, Friedman provides the reader with a comprehensive, incisive, and thought-provoking history. We cannot afford to ignore his Cold War analysis and lessons for the future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781557502643
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
Publication date: 11/28/1999
Pages: 597
Product dimensions: 6.42(w) x 9.46(h) x 1.75(d)

About the Author

Norman Friedman is a prominent naval analyst and the author of more than thirty books covering a range of naval subjects, from warship histories to contemporary defense issues. He is a longtime columnist for Proceedings magazine and lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Part 1Setting the Stage1
1War and Communism3
2Stalin's Soviet Union16
3The West in 194525
4The Nuclear Revolution in Warfare33
Part 2Outbreak41
5Initial Probes43
6Open War57
7The Marshall Plan and NATO70
8Tito and Mao91
9Rising Nationalism102
10Stalin's Military Buildup115
11Countering Stalin's Hordes123
Part 3Crises in a Nuclear World133
12Living with Stalin's Bomb: NSC 68135
13The "Super"144
14Crisis in the East149
15Defending Europe171
16Crisis: Indochina180
17Enter Khrushchev186
18The "New Look"193
19Khrushchev's "New Look"211
20Disaster via the Middle East217
Part 4Stalemate229
21The Missile Race231
22Crisis Time241
23Kennedy and "Wars of National Liberation"252
24Crises in Europe and Cuba271
25The McNamara Broom283
26De Gaulle vs. NATO295
Part 5The West on the Defensive299
27The Brezhnev Coup301
31Peace without Victory354
32Brezhnev's Buildups373
33Detente and Discontent382
34The West at Bay394
Part 6Counterattack and Victory443
36The Computer Bomb445
37Counterattack: The West Rearms452
38Unexpected Victory467

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