The Military

David R. Stone

in The Oxford Handbook of the Cold War

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199236961
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

The Military

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  • History
  • Cold War
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  • Contemporary History (Post 1945)


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This chapter examines the military history of the Cold War. It explains that most military activities during this period were focused on apocalyptic nuclear war which never came and that the military aspects of the Cold War contributed to its end. The chapter suggests that while the military side of the Cold War did play a major role in ending the Cold War, it was not because of the policies of U.S. President Ronald Reagan, for there is little evidence that they were intended to produce moderation in Soviet leadership. It argues that reforms initiated by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev came from the realization of the decay of Soviet military superiority and the increasing economic burden of defense spending.

Keywords: military history; Cold War; nuclear war; Ronald Reagan; Soviet leadership; Mikhail Gorbachev; military superiority; economic burden; defense spending

Article.  10556 words. 

Subjects: History ; Cold War ; Military History ; Contemporary History (Post 1945)

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