Nato v. Warsaw Pact

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One of the great conflicts of history that never happened.  I suspect that wiser Soviet leaders understood that time was not on their side.  They realized that their economy was no match for the West, and the best they could hope for was to avoid a meltdown that would threaten their grasp on power.  The obvious solution, at least for a time, was military conquest of Western Europe.  However, the Soviet leadership had lived through World War II, and could never bring themselves to risk everything on the iron dice of war again.  However, a showdown with Nato could easily have occurred as a result of Soviet miscalculation.  When the Nato exercise Able Archer 83 occurred in 1983, the Soviets were alarmed and feared that the exercise presaged a Nato attack.  The world was very lucky that the Cold War never became a very Hot War.

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4 Comments

  1. Red Storm Rising was a better read than The Third World War: August, 1985 (although Harold Coyle got a good novel out of the latter).

    Anybody remember the name of the miniseries where all that stood between Spetznas commando & control of the Alaska pipeline was a company of the AK National Guard?

  2. “although Harold Coyle got a good novel out of the latter”

    Team Yankee was superb. Ralph Peters, back when he was sane, wrote a good novel looking at combat in World War III from the other side of the hill: Red Army.

  3. Some of you may remember the story of Soviet Col. Stanislav Petrov, who on Sept. 26, 1983, correctly judged as a technical glitch radar blips that appeared to be US missiles headed for Moscow. In doing so, he may have prevented World War III.

    There is now an entire alternate history wiki called Doomsday 1983, based on the premise that Col. Petrov wasn’t there that day, and that the officer who saw the missiles assumed them to be real, contacted his superiors, and prompted an all out nuclear attack. Two billion people are killed outright and another two billion die as a result of disease, starvation, etc. The Doomsday 1983 site is devoted to chronicling, in near real-time, how human society would have rebuilt itself over the subsequent decades. It’s verrry interesting (to say the least):

    http://althistory.wikia.com/wiki/1983:_Doomsday

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