Conventional Warfare in Europe--The Soviet View
NAVAL WAR COLLEGE NEWPORT RI
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An analysis of the operational Soviet view on the possibility of conventional warfare between NATO and the Warsaw Pact in Europe. Soviet perceptions and policies concerning this subject since World War II are found to be mainly reactions to the prevailing nuclear balance. The Soviets would have preferred conventional warfare at any time during the period. Until the attainment of a credible strategic nuclear deterrent in the mid-1960s, they assumed that the United States would use nuclear weapons against them in a European conflict. Since that time the Soviets have reasoned that the United States and the rest of NATO may be deterred from the use of nuclear weapons. Accordingly, they have placed increased emphasis on preparations for conventional warfare in Europe. Soviet policy statements, military writings, training exercises, and force posture are found to accord with this general view. The Soviets, of course, can never be certain that NATO will not resort to nuclear weapons to avoid defeat. Given a choice, however, the Soviets will fight with conventional means alone as long as the survival of the Soviet state is not threatened.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics