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Contested Narratives: South African and Cuban military action in Angola (1987-1988)

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Technical Report,05 Jul 2015,26 May 2016

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The purpose of this monograph is to explore how Cuba and the Republic of South Africa used tactical actions in southern Angola to pursue their strategic objectives in the South African Border War from 1987 to 1988. The monograph focuses on how the two states used these tactical actions to further their respective narratives of victory and seek a continued strategic advantage. The monograph compares and contrasts the strategies and interpretations of military actions in Angola from the perspective of each belligerent. The monograph argues that although the accounts of the military actions at Cuito Cuanavale and in Cunene Province were remarkably congruent, each state contested the purpose of these actions and fought to define the meaning of the war. By fighting for their differing interpretations of events, they sought to rationalize their competing claims of victory at the conclusion of the war. The monograph argues that the interdependent nature of the complex environment in which these states acted increased the importance of the narratives to each states pursuit of its strategic objectives.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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