The Nuclear Age and the Cold War

Colin S. Gray

in The Practice of Strategy

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608638
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731754 | DOI:
The Nuclear Age and the Cold War

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In examining the Soviet‐American Cold War of 1945–91, Colin Gray posits seven categories of context: political, sociocultural, economic, technological, geographical‐geopolitical, historical, and military‐strategic. He also divides the Cold War into separate periods, defined by what he considers its three strategically ‘decisive moments’: the outbreak of, and the American‐led reaction to, the war in Korea (June 1950); the Cuban Missile Crisis (October 1962); and the fall of the Soviet Union (December 1989). His analysis leads to the inescapable conclusion that the Cold War was a struggle that the Soviet Union was never likely to win, at least not by any reasonable definition of victory. Gray deliberately weights political over military considerations, and grand strategy over military strategy. The strategic experience of the Cold War supports his main hypothesis: namely, that strategy has eternal and universal characteristics.

Keywords: Nuclear Age; Cold War; grand strategy; military strategy; politics; Korean War; Cuban Missile Crisis; fall of the Soviet Union; history; USA

Chapter.  12816 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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